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Lawrence ton helps Essex into big lead at Leicester

PUBLISHED: 18:41 24 August 2016 | UPDATED: 18:41 24 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)

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

Teenager gives Division Two leaders hope

Dan Lawrence hit a superb unbeaten century to help Essex into a position of strength on day two of their Specsavers County Championship clash with Leicestershire.

The former Trinity High School pupil scored 123 not out on his return to action after a hamstring injury, as Division Two leaders Essex reached 368-8 for a lead of 130 runs against their title rivals.

Essex resumed on 12-2, in reply to Leicestershire’s 238, but lost Nick Browne to the first ball of the day from Dieter Klein.

Tom Westley and Ravi Bopara set about rebuilding the innings, but the former Hainault & Clayhall all-rounder lost his off stump to Charlie Shreck to make it 60-4.

And Westley then proceeded to pull a ball from Dieter Klein into the hands of Paul Horton at deep square leg to depart for 35 with the Essex total on 68.

Captain Ryan ten Doeschte then joined Lawrence in a key stand, as the visitors reached lunch on 102-5.

The half-century stand came up with a lovely cover drive to the boundary from the skipper, who reached his own fifty from 55 balls with six fours.

Lawrence was happy to play the supporting role at this point, as the pair brought up a century partnership to bring Essex right back into the contest, but ten Doeschate then fell for 86 as he chased a ball from Ben Raine and edged to wicketkeeper Ned Eckersley to make it 193-6.

Lawrence and James Foster then dug in before tea, with the teenager reaching his half-century from 144 deliveries, with six boundaries.

And after starting the final session still 15 runs in arrears, Essex moved into the lead with a shot into the leg side by Lawrence off Neil Dexter for three runs.

A second batting point was secured before the second new ball was taken by the hosts, with Foster then taking 10 runs from a Shreck over to move to within four runs of his half-century as the seventh-wicket pair recorded another century stand for the visitors.

Foster reached his fifty from 88 balls with six fours, as Essex moved past the 300-run mark for a third batting point.

And Lawrence reached three figures with his 11th four, having faced 226 balls, to help Essex into an 85-run lead.

But Foster then dabbed a delivery from Richard Jones to Eckersley to depart for 54 and leave Essex 323-7, with Will Rhodes edging Jones to home skipper Mark Cosgrove at slip for a third-ball duck.

New batsman Graham Napier helped Lawrence secure a fourth batting point as the score moved past 350 in deteriorating light, before the umpires decided it had become bad enough to stop play with Essex on 368-8.

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