Essex 84-3 lead Somerset by 79 runs
Nick Browne dug in with characteristic doggedness for an unbeaten half-century that kept Essex afloat on the second afternoon of the Specsavers County Championship match at Chelmsford.
Essex had begun their second innings five runs behind Somerset, and were in serious trouble of suffering their first red-ball defeat of the season when Ravi Bopara was third out with the score on 39.
But in partnership with Adam Wheater, Browne had taken Essex to 84 for three at tea. The pair had put on an unbroken stand of 45 for the fourth wicket with the left-handed opener on 54 from 135 balls.
Essex had gone to lunch at eight for two, but Browne showed a degree of intent with three successive fours from the first over of the afternoon from Paul van Meekeren, two of them involuntary shots either side of the wicketkeeper. The third was a more controlled flick off his legs through midwicket, and soon after he had Craig Overton sticking out a leg but unable to stop a straight drive.
Ravi Bopara kept Browne company for 14 overs while 31 were added for the third wicket. But Bopara, having paddle-swept Jack Leach for the biggest scoring stroke in his patient nine, charged the spinner and was beaten by the flight. Steven Davies completed the stumping.
Browne’s innings had moments of explosion amid the plethora of dot balls. From the 94th ball he faced, he got a massive top-edge against Overton and the ball sailed high over fine leg for six. Wheater, meanwhile, thumping the bad balls, received a reprieve on 14 when James Hildreth got both hands above his head to a thick edge at second slip but the ball didn’t stick.