Teenage spin, bad light and dropped catches frustrate Essex on day three against Surrey

Essex's Dan Lawrence, warming up for the England Lions match against South Africa A, scored his seco

Essex's Dan Lawrence, warming up for the England Lions match against South Africa A, scored his second Championship century of the season. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Essex trail Surrey by 41 runs after a curtailed third day of their top-of-the-table Specsavers County Championship clash at Chelmsford.

The hosts had led by 14 runs after the first innings, but Surrey’s 18-year-old debutant offspinner Amar Virdi enjoyed a memorable day before heavy rain and bad light curtailed play 26 overs early.

Viridi struck twice in one over either side of lunch for his maiden first-class wickets and finished with three for 82.

Dan Lawrence, warming up for the England Lions match against South Africa A, laid the foundation for Essex’s 383 with his second Championship century of the season. He was out for 107 from 208 balls, after which lively half-centuries by Ryan ten Doeschate and Neil Wagner carried on his spade work.

Surrey were aided by two early dropped catches in their second innings, both off Jamie Porter. Mark Stoneman finally went for 28 as Surrey finished the day 55 for one.

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Lawrence said: “It wasn’t my most fluent innings, it was quite scratchy, but it was nice to get another hundred. Both centuries this season have been fairly gritty, but I’m just happy to score the runs.

“I’m in some decent form. We’ve got three one-dayers with the Lions. I’ve got to get selected in that team first and then see what happens then. But I’m excited.”

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Lawrence has only played two Royal London Cup games for Essex this season and admitted he was surprised to be selected for the Lions’ 50-over squad.

“I’ll give it a go and hopefully I’ll do OK,” he said. “There are some four-day games after that, but I don’t know if I’ve been selected for that yet. Hopefully I can make my presence felt in the team and score some good runs.”

He added: “We had a good opportunity to put pressure on Surrey and the bowlers were bowling beautifully and we were really keyed up. But Mother Nature has done her thing and now we’ll have to come back tomorrow and put a big shift in.

“We dropped a couple of catches, myself included, but that is the way it is. It’s 55 for one, but it could easily have been 60 for four.”

Surrey seamer Tom Curran said of Virdi: “For a young lad to come in and perform the way he did was fantastic.”

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