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Mickleburgh shines before showers

Only two hours of play were possible on the third day at Chelmsford but that proved to be enough time for Essex opener Jaik Mickleburgh to score his second LV= County Championship century of the season.

From an overnight 68, he advanced to 124 as Essex reached 240 for two in their duel against Glamorgan.

That left them just 82 runs adrift of the Welsh county's first-innings total of 322, but it will need something remarkable on the final day if they are to emerge with the victory they so desperately need to keep alive their promotion hopes.

The only setback Essex suffered after they had resumed on 107 for one came when Greg Smith cut Michael Hogan high to gully where Dean Cosker held a fine catch.

Smith departed for a quickfire 16 that all came in boundaries. After that, Mickelburgh and Owais Shah dominated proceedings with a flurry of aggressive strokes as they posted a century partnership in 24 overs.

Both batsmen enjoyed themselves against spinners Cosker and Andrew Salter. Shah advanced down the pitch to drive both for six while his partner dealt out similar punishment to Salter soon after completing his century from 155 balls that included 14 fours.

Neither batsman looked in any trouble and, after Shah had completed his half-century from 72 balls, he quickly celebrated that particular landmark with his second six.

That second sweetly-timed lofted blow brought up the hundred partnership spanning 25 overs. The third-wicket pair had added 108 only for their further progress to be halted by the weather.

Mickleburgh's innings has so far lasted 184 deliveries and occupied almost four hours while Shah ended the day on 59, only his second half-century in the championship this summer, an effort that has spanned 79 balls.

Mickleburgh, who is the county's leading run-scorer in the competition this season, now has 787 runs this summer with this current contribution, having been overlooked from the first three games of the campaign.

However, he was denied the opportunity of adding to his tally of runs when rain arrived shortly after the players left the field for lunch.

With no improvement in the weather, umpires Jeff Evans and Steve O'Shaughnessy formally called off play for the day at 4:30pm.

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