Lancashire 240-7 v Essex
Four wickets in the first 15 overs after lunch put Essex in the driving seat on the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship match at Chelmsford.
Lancashire collapsed from 114 for two to 160 for six before Dane Vilas and Jordan Clark set about repairing the damage. The seventh-wicket pair put on 57 before they were parted shortly before tea, at which point Lancashire were 240 for seven and Vilas 54 not out.
It was a torrid afternoon session for the visitors which began with Steven Croft surviving a sharp stumping chance to the second ball after lunch. Both Croft and wicketkeeper Adam Wheater missed a ball down legside from Simon Harmer and it ran away for byes.
But Porter’s third ball of the session accounted for Haseeb Hameed, bowled by one that nipped back. The England opener departed for an otherwise chanceless 47 from 103 balls.
Croft was next to go. The Lancashire captain swept at Harmer, got a top-edge and sub fielder Callum Taylor claimed the catch above his head. Croft had hit seven fours in his 73-ball 48.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul, particularly strong off his legs, took up the fight and pulled Wagner for two fours in an over. But he had reached 15 when he was sent back to the non-striker’s end by Vilas and was run out by Taylor’s throw from square leg.
Neil Wagner’s debut had been fairly expensive with 56 runs coming from his first 13 overs. But New Zealand’s player of the year picked up his first Essex wicket at the start of his 14th over when Ryan McLaren got an outside edge first ball and was taken at second slip by Tom Westley. Suddenly Lancashire were struggling at 160 for six.
Jordan Clark lightened the gloom slightly when he lifted Harmer over long leg for six and followed that with fours off successive balls in the same over. His partnership with the hard-hitting Vilas raced past fifty in 12 overs before he was pinned in front by Aaron Beard for 24.
South African Vilas pushed Wagner into the covers for the single that brought up his half-century from 68 balls with eight fours.