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Eddie leads the fightback on day two

Eddie Byrom made an unbeaten half century for Somerset after Essex declared on 517 for five on day two of this day/night Specsavers County Championship match at Chelmsford.

Earlier in the day Essex skipper Ryan ten Doeschate made a career-best 173 not out in his first game back after serving a two-match suspension for disciplinary issues. Ravi Bopara, with whom ten Doeschate shared a record fifth-wicket stand of 294, also reached three figures.

Essex kept Somerset in the field for more than four and a half sweltering sessions, before calling a halt to proceedings.

On a flat, batsman-friendly pitch, only three wickets fell in the day, in contrast to the number of milestones that were passed at regular intervals. At the close, Somerset had seen out the final 42 overs in reducing the deficit by 140 for the loss of two wickets.

The ten Doeschate-Bopara partnership was the highest for any Essex wicket this season but it came to an end after 78 overs when Bopara took a mighty swing at Peter Trego and had his middle stump knocked out of the ground.

The milestones started with the fourth ball of the morning when ten Doeschate pushed Lewis Gregory through extra cover for the boundary that took him to his fifty from 95 balls. It also took Essex to 300. A second four into the same area by ten Doeschate brought up the century partnership. It had taken 33 overs. Bopara required 146 balls to reach his half-century whilst Ten Doeschate went to his century from 147 balls.

Bopara eventually reached only his second Championship century since July 2014  from 221 balls.

Chasing 367 to avoid following-on, Steve Davies and Byrom put on 55 for the first wicket. Davies was the man to go for 41.

Byrom was then joined in the middle by George Bartlett and the pair set about their task admirably and Byrom reached a 98-ball half century when he flicked Sam Cook off his legs. Unfortunately Bartlett, who had made 42, fell to the last ball of the day, bowled by Cook with one that angled in to end an 85-run partnership.

After the close of play Peter Trego said: “I thought they might have gone on a bit longer, but fair play to Essex, they realised that it’s an attritional-style game and they need a volume of overs to bowl us out. They’ve gone for that. They could have decided to stay out there for another half-an-hour but they gave their bowlers the chance to do a bit of damage, and they got two wickets tonight. We’ve got to be right on it tomorrow. One slip-up session in the next two could be hard work for us.”

For the match scorecard please click here

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01/07/2022 18:15 - Lord's