Essex 159 & 158-4 lead Somerset 164 by 153 runs
Nick Browne anchored the Essex second innings towards a potentially winning position until his 198-ball vigil ended on 83 during a rain-hit third morning at Chelmsford.
The left-hander put on 118 for the fourth wicket in 45 overs with Adam Wheater to lift Essex from a precarious 39 for three the previous afternoon. When the rain returned just after noon, Division One leaders Essex had established a lead of 153 in the Specsavers County Championship match between sides at opposite ends of the table.
Browne was finally beaten by one arrowed past his forward-defensive prod by Tim Groenewald, just 19 runs short of reaching 1,000 first-class runs for the third successive season. He had hit 12 fours and a six.
Just as remarkable was the innings played by Wheater, who has endured a difficult summer with the bat. He was 58 not out from 135 balls when an early lunch was called.
Fifty-six minutes’ play was possible in the morning session between showers that delayed the start by 12 minutes.
Wheater’s seventh boundary brought up only his second Championship fifty of the season from 118 balls. The latest well-timed cover-drive also took the fourth-wicket stand to 100. When it ended, five overs later, it was the biggest partnership of the match by some 40 runs.