James Foster and Ryan ten Doeschate led a spirited Essex recovery as the Chelmsford hosts reached 268 for eight on a truncated opening day of their LV=County Championship match against Lancashire.
Both batsmen showed application and judicious shot-selection to steer Essex towards a respectable total after they had lost half of their wickets for 72 before lunch.
Ten Doeschate initiated the recovery, reaching his half-century from 80 balls with six boundaries and adding 95 runs with Foster before Simon Kerrigan struck.
The spinner had been driven for six and four but, going in search of another boundary in the same over, ten Doeschate was subsequently caught on the long-on rope for 77.
The determined Foster reached his fifty from 105 deliveries during another half-century stand, this time with Graham Napier.
However, their 59-run alliance ended when Napier stepped across the line and was struck on the pads by Wayne White - leaving Foster to fight on.
His innings of clean and uncomplicated strokeplay spanned 156 deliveries and contained six fours.
Having scored 82, Foster’s invaluable offering, which ensured a couple of batting bonus points, was ended by Kerrigan, who pinned him in the crease moments before the umpires decided the light had deteriorated sufficiently to bring the players off the field.
A restart was not possible, meaning 19 overs were lost.
Earlier, Lancashire wasted little time in justifying their decision to put the home side into bat - whipping out Essex’s top three within the first nine overs of the match.
On a slightly damp pitch that offered early seam movement, new-ball pair Kyle Hogg and Glen Chapple immediately had the home side struggling, finding the right line and length to take maximum benefit from the overcast conditions.
Hogg struck with his fifth ball when Jaik Mickleburgh edged a delivery to third slip and soon had fellow opener Tom Westley lbw.
Chapple, meanwhile, removed Hamish Rutherford - making his championship debut - for five as the New Zealand Test batsman was caught behind.
Although Owais Shah, in his first championship appearance of the summer following a stint in the Indian Premier League, arrested the slide with a well-fashioned 30, the introduction of Luke Procter soon restored the visitors’ early advantage.
The seamer struck twice in successive overs, Shah playing down the wrong line to be bowled before Ben Foakes was caught at cover.