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15 wickets fall on day two at Chelmsford

Aaron Beard and Jamie Porter celebrated signing new two-year contracts at Essex by sharing nine-wickets as the hosts had the better of day two in this Specsavers County Championship clash.

The pair claimed figures of four for 23 and five for 51, respectively, on the same day they agreed to remain at Chelmsford until the end of 2021, as table toppers Somerset were bowled out for 131.

Having taken a first innings lead of 85, Sir Alastair Cook followed his first innings score of 80 with 47 to put Essex into a healthy position with an advantage of 249 runs. However, a number of late wickets will give Somerset hope.

In the morning session, Porter celebrated his 300th First Class wicket when he trapped Tom Abell lbw.

Beard then entered the attack, and with his third ball he ended Tim Groenewald’s 52-ball vigil, as the nightwatchman drove to Tom Westley at third slip.

James Hildreth and Tom Banton followed in the same over as Beard forced a pull which looped to square-leg from the former and a push outside off-stump which whizzed behind off the latter’s bat.

Chelmsford-born Beard then accounted for Steve Davies, leaving Somerset 74 for six.

Rain, which brought about an early lunch, saw eight overs lost in the day, but when play resumed it took 5.1 overs before Porter drew an edge out of Lewis Gregory, which arched to Harmer at second slip.

Siddle claimed his first wicket of the match when George Bartlett was trapped in front before Porter saw off the tail – Jamie Overton picked out deep square leg before Jack Brooks saw his middle stump removed.

The Essex second innings saw Nick Browne depart for 29 when a leading edge was caught by Gregory at gully off Groenewald.

Essex continued to score runs at a good rate but lost wickets at regular intervals, in a similar manner to the first innings.

Tom Westley was also caught off a leading edge and Dan Lawrence flicked behind.

Cook fell three runs short of a second half-century in the match when he was caught low down by Overton at second slip as Groenewald accounted for the former England skipper for the second time in the match. Ryan ten Doeschate was caught behind before Ravi Bopara chipped to mid-wicket just before the close to leave the home side on 164 for six.

At the close of play Tim Groenewald, who ended the day with three for 39, said: “There are two very different ends here at Chelmsford. One is level and the other goes up a slope before the wicket, and that can play with your rhythm. So switching to the other end helped me and I bowled quite nicely.

“I’m not complaining about dismissing Cook in both innings, he is a massive wicket in any game. You just have to look at the way he’s batted on a tricky surface to see why his record is so good. He sticks to his game plan and doesn’t change it.

“We found it tricky this morning and they bowled well. They used the heavy roller just before they batted for the second time, so that might have taken a bit out the wicket. It definitely seemed to do more when they bowled.

“We were 50 for one and then 60 for five. If you bowl in the right area it is difficult to get going when you are new to the crease.”

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