Lancashire held up by stubborn Essex
Tom Westley and Dan Lawrence shared an obdurate century stand, both scoring unbeaten half-centuries, as Essex dug in to save the game against Lancashire at Chelmsford.
Essex, though, still need to bat through another 64 overs to prevent Lancashire opening the season with their first win in 12 Specsavers County Championship matches.
The pair had put on 110 for the third wicket at lunch on the final day after Essex lost two quick wickets the previous evening as they chased a notional target of 478 to win.
Lancashire were made to rue two opportunities to remove Westley yesterday when he had 10 and 11.
Lawrence, having given Westley a 20-ball start, was first to fifty. A gentle push off Stephen Parry, eluding Jimmy Anderson’s dive in the covers, brought the single that took him to his half-century off 125 balls with seven fours, five of them in the morning session.
Westley followed shortly afterwards when he crashed Jordan Clark through the covers for his fifth four of an innings that had spanned 163 balls. It also brought up the century partnership in 48 overs.
Anderson had been so parsimonious to start with that his first six overs went for just two runs. It was perhaps not surprising that he was so frustrated when Lawrence pulled him through midwicket for four that he kicked out at the ground. His initial eight-over spell, before taking himself off, cost just nine runs with five maidens.
Essex’s 100 had come up in the 46th over, courtesy of another Lawrence boundary through the covers off Kyle Jarvis. There was no appreciable acceleration thereafter as Essex stuck rigidly to a run-rate hovering around 2.1 an over.