Nick Browne and Dan Lawrence put Essex firmly in driving seat against Yorkshire
- Credit: Su Anderson
Nick Browne and Dan Lawrence combined for a century third-wicket partnership that laid the foundations to enhance Essex’s remaining ambition of going through the Division One season unbeaten.
The pair had put on an unbroken 128 stand to increase the champion county’s first-innings lead over Yorkshire of 116 to 250 when bad light caused an early finish with eight overs remaining. At that point Browne was 53 from 134 balls and Lawrence 75 from 143.
The Yorkshire bowlers toiled for 48 overs on a wicket that became slower and easier for batting the long the partnership went on.
Browne and Lawrence started watchfully after Jack Brooks had removed Varun Chopra and Ravi Bopara in the space of three balls in his second over, both pinned plumb in front, and only six on the board.
It was perhaps fortunate for Yorkshire they had claimed the points necessary to avoid relegation from Division One on day one, as they were dismissed for 111 in 46 overs by mid-afternoon on day two. Jamie Porter, Neil Wagner and Simon Harmer split nine of the wickets equally between themselves.
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Browne and Lawrence got their heads down for a period of crease occupancy that was initially so obdurate that it was not until Lawrence’s 54th ball that he hit his first boundary, crashing Steven Patterson through the covers, to move from five to nine.
The tempo went up noticeably as they approached the fifty partnership, reached in 23 overs, at which point Lawrence struck two fours in an over from Patterson. A flurry of boundaries followed, Lawrence’s seventh lofted back over Karl Carver’s head before the spinner suffered worse when Lawrence skipped down the wicket and launched a six over long leg.
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Lawrence beat Browne to half-a-century, clipping Ben Coad to the long-leg boundary for two. A measure of how his scoring sped up was that he needed just 49 balls to move from five to fifty, reached in 103 balls. The century partnership followed soon after from 36 overs.
Browne’s fifty, which included five fours, three of them in two overs from Coad, took slightly longer after he became becalmed in the forties. A pushed single in the onside took him to the mark from 124 balls.