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Lionheart Lawrence leads way for Essex

PUBLISHED: 09:00 29 May 2017

Essex batsman Dan Lawrence has been named in the England Lions squad (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Essex batsman Dan Lawrence has been named in the England Lions squad (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Teenager’s century helps hosts gain lead

Essex’s Dan Lawrence warmed up for the England Lions match against South Africa A this week, by scoring a century on day three of their Specsavers County Championship Division One clash with Surrey.

Lawrence hit 107 off 208 balls to help Essex reach 383 for a slender 14-run lead on first innings.

Captain Ryan ten Doeschate (53) and New Zealand bowler Neil Wagner (50) added half-centuries for the hosts, before Surrey reached 55-1 at close.

Former Trinity High School pupil Lawrence, who hit a matchsaving century against Lancashire in the first fixture of the season, 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.”

Lawrence 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.

“But I’ll give it a go and hopefully I’ll do okay,” he added.

“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.”

The loss of 26 overs in the evening session frustrated Essex’s hopes of making inroads into Surrey’s second-innings batting.

Lawrence said: “We had a good opportunity there 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 and put a big shift in.

“We dropped a couple of catches, myself included, but that is the way it is. It’s 55-1, but it could easily have been 60-4 if we had stayed out there. But it is what it is.”

Young spinner Amar Virdi (3-82) took three wickets on his debut for the visitors and earned praise from seamer Tom Curran.

“For a young lad to come in on Championship debut and perform the way he did was fantastic,” said Curran.

“He wasn’t bothered by the environment at all. He got turn, he got good players out and bowled a lot of overs (36). He didn’t go for runs, and for him he must be very proud of that. It’s the start of a very exciting career.

“Coming in as a young lad there would have been nerves, but after those first couple of overs he settled in. He showed what he is about, and a glimpse of what he can be. He got a couple of big wickets, and most importantly he bowled a lot of dots and for a long period. That allowed our seamers to rotate from the other end.

“He is a character, a really nice guy and very well-liked by the dressing room and he is an exciting talent.”

Of the Essex innings, Curran said: “The scores might not reflect, but this performance is up there with the best innings of bowling we’ve put together as a group. We gelled together well, building pressure from both ends on a really, really tough wicket to bowl on.

“I was pleased with the way I bowled. We spoke about it earlier and said we were going to have to make the new ball count. Even when we didn’t, we stuck at it, we dried up the game and looking at the scores you can see that.

“We will be looking to get through that first half-hour on Monday, then the first hour, then to lunch and get the lead as big as we can and see where later on in the day.”

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