Essex build score against Sussex at Castle Park

PUBLISHED: 19:02 04 August 2016 | UPDATED: 19:02 04 August 2016

Dan Lawrence scored an unbeaten century for Essex at Leicester (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Dan Lawrence scored an unbeaten century for Essex at Leicester (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

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Four batsmen make half-centuries on first day

Essex's Nick Browne hit a half-century against Sussex (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)Essex's Nick Browne hit a half-century against Sussex (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Half-centuries from Nick Browne and Dan Lawrence helped Essex build a good total on the first day of their Specsavers County Championship clash with draw specialists Sussex at Colchester’s picturesque Castle Park.

Jaik Mickleburgh and captain Ryan ten Doeschate also hit fifties for the Division Two leaders, who were seven points clear at the top of the table going into their latest match, as they closed on 337-6.

Essex had booked quarter-final ties at Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire in the Natwest T20 Blast and Royal London One Day Cup respectively over the past week, but their limited-overs skipper Ravi Bopara was left out of the home line-up for the return to four-day duties due to illness.

And New Zealander Jesse Ryder was also absent, nursing a calf strain suffered during recent exploits, which meant Hornchurch bowler Tom Moore came into the starting XI.

Essex Captain Ryan ten Doeschate hit 83 on the first day against Sussex (pic: PA)Essex Captain Ryan ten Doeschate hit 83 on the first day against Sussex (pic: PA)

Ten Doeschate chose to bat first after winning the toss, with Browne making a bright start alongside Mickleburgh as the pair took the score to 58 without loss in the first 17 overs.

And the opening pair continued to defy the visiting attack to go to lunch at 96-0, with Browne bringing up his half-century in the first over after the restart, only to edge Jofra Archer behind to wicketkeeper Ben Brown in the second over and fall for 55 to end a 108-run opening partnership.

Tom Westley succumbed to a first-ball duck to leave Archer on a hat-trick, but Lawrence survived that delivery and eventually thrived as Mickleburgh reached his half-century from 125 balls to make it 143-2.

The third-wicket pair put on 52 before Mickleburgh was bowled by Steve Magoffin having moved to 54, but the 19-year-old Lawrence was then joined by ten Doeschate and they had moved the total to 186-3 when bad light stopped play and the teams took an early tea.

No overs were lost when the action got underway again, with Lawrence moving to his half-century in style with a six off England’s Chris Jordan as Essex reached 210-3.

But Lawrence then fell for 65, top edging a ball from Archer to Luke Wells at cover to end an 83-run stand and make it 243-4, before ten Doeschate brought up his fifty from 75 deliveries soon after, having hit five boundaries.

James Foster helped his skipper put on a half-century stand, before Jordan took the new ball, and a third batting point was secured as the fifth-wicket pair took the total to 300-4 in 82 overs.

Ten Doeschate was dismissed by Magoffin for 83 and Foster followed in the penultimate over of the day, trapped leg before by David Wiese for 42.

Jamie Porter came out as nightwatchman for the final over, alongside Ashar Zaidi, and scored two runs from his two balls faced as Graham Napier, playing for the county on his home ground for the last time, was left waiting to bat as the hosts look to build an imposing first innings score.

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