Essex 159 & 24-0 trail Lancashire 319 & 317-3 dec by 453 runs
Alex Davies recorded his maiden first-class century to help Lancashire set Essex a target of 478 to win – or four full sessions to save the game – in the opening Specsavers County Championship game at Chelmsford.
With Dane Vilas (92), Davies put on 183 for the third wicket to take the game over the hill and far away from Essex. The wicketkeeper finished unbeaten on 140, scored off 265 balls with 21 fours. His previous highest total was 99 against Kent two years ago.
A push through midwicket off Simon Harmer took Davies to three figures from the third ball he faced after lunch – the young man being nerveless after enduring the 40-minute break on 97. He faced 214 balls for his century and had hit 17 fours.
The milestone duly noted in the record books, Davies then hit successive boundaries off Ravi Bopara, the second of them bringing up the 100 partnership with Vilas in 29 overs.
Vilas had played second fiddle to Davies for much of it, but a quick single off Ryan ten Doeschate gave him his second half-century of the match, this one from 106 balls.
Essex decided not to take the new-ball when it became available as Doeschate ran through his back-up bowlers with Tom Westley and Dan Lawrence called into action.
Davies survived two chances on the second day and was given another life when Wagner dropped him on the long-leg boundary off Westley. By then he had 132 to his name.
Jamie Porter came back in preparation for the new-ball, but it did not need to be unwrapped. With his third ball, Porter bent back Vilas’s middle stump and Steven Croft declared.