Regular roles were reversed again on the second day of the LV= Challenge at Chelmsford as England took control against Essex, who closed trailing by 182 with one first-innings wicket left.
Yesterday Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann lifted England from 212 for seven to 328 without further loss. They continued the good work this morning with a stand eventually worth 187, to which Swann contributed 94.
Bresnan, unbeaten on 105, reached three figures with a slog-swept six that prompted Alastair Cook to declare on 413 for nine around half an hour before lunch.
Root, filling in as the main spinner for Graeme Swann who after his innings went for an X-ray on a blow to his right forearm, claimed his first senior four-for to undermine Essex’s reply. The X-ray showed no fracture and Swann returned to the ground to receive treatment for bruising, with the expectation he will return to the field later in the match.
The hosts had reached 84 for two when the 22-year-old off-spinner snared Owais Shah caught behind via a simple, looping chance. Following home captain Ravi Bopara’s departure to Finn, Root had Essex’s mainstay Jaik Mickleburgh held at short-leg for 90.
If that was Root’s most important breakthrough, his most impressive was next when he took a hard-struck caught-and-bowled chance, right-handed, to remove Ben Foakes. Sajid Mahmood then hold out at cover-point and Root finished with figures of 4-57 from 20 overs.
The impressive Finn struck with what became the last ball of the day to leave the hosts 231 for nine at the game’s halfway point on a still reliable batting surface favouring turn.
Swann, resuming on 62 alongside Bresnan on 55, was hit on the right forearm in a hostile early over from Tymal Mills that also saw Bresnan receive a blow to the grille.
Swann continued batting for almost an hour until he failed to clear mid-off against leg-spinner Tom Craddock, who immediately trapped Finn in front and finished with 5-69. Shortly after, Bresnan emphatically went to three figures off Tom Westley.
With Swann not taking the field, there was soon more suffering for Westley who nicked Finn behind before lunch.
Graham Onions was unfortunate not to have New Zealand batsman Hamish Rutherford’s wicket when Kevin Pietersen shelled a regulation chance at mid-on. But Pietersen soon made amends by holding on at mid-off to give Bresnan Rutherford’s scalp.
Root, getting sharp turn like Craddock had, struck with his third ball. With Mickleburgh having reached his fifty, wicketkeeper Matt Prior put down a right-handed chance off the unlucky Onions as Bopara survived.
However, Finn had Bopara caught behind in the first over following tea, meaning Pietersen and Prior both made amends for their drops.
Between Root’s second and third breakthroughs Onions took a deserved wicket by bowling Mark Pettini for 31, Essex’s highest score after Mickleburgh. Finn later rounded off proceedings.
Live Text Commentary
6:25pm - STUMPS - WICKET! Masters lbw Finn 17; Ess 231/9 - Finn brings an end to the day four balls early by trapping the tailender plumb in front, having gone close to an identical dismissal the delivery before. Finn’s bowling, which was hostile at times, has improved throughout the innings. Essex trail by 182 with one first-innings wicket left.
6:18pm - Pietersen drops his second chance of the day, putting David Masters down off Finn at gully, either side of which the tailender takes four. We’re into the last few overs now.
6:08pm - WICKET! Mahmood c Bairstow b Root 17; Essex 222/8 - Mahmood, who had struck three boundaries, attempts another but skies the ball to the safe hands of Jonny Bairstow at cover-point, giving Root his first senior four-for.
5:45pm - WICKET! Foakes c & b Root 20; Essex 204/7 - Essex reach 200 with a risky three to Root, who Foakes then clips through midwicket for four. But later in the over he offers a hard return chance that Root stunningly holds, right-handed, low down. Root is doing a sterling job, filling in for Swann.
5:32pm - WICKET! Pettini b Onions 31; Ess 192/6 - The previously unlucky Onions clips the right-hander’s off stump with a full ball that skids on. England are continuing to take wickets at regular intervals. Former international Sajid Mahmood is the new man.
5:21pm - More mainly attritional play follows with Root switching ends and Graham Onions replacing Bresnan in the attack. Foakes moves to double figures by cutting Root for four.
5pm - Pettini and Foakes, who is yet to score, play defensively against Bresnan and Root as the hosts seek to limit the damage done by England.
4:44pm - WICKET! Mickleburgh c Bell b Root 90; Ess 157/5 - Mickleburgh misses out on a century as he paddle-sweeps at Joe Root, part of a double bowling change with Tim Bresnan, but only succeeds in edging into his pad with the ball looping to Ian Bell at short-leg. Root completes a wicket-maiden to Ben Foakes.
4:39pm - News on Graeme Swann’s injury..
.@Swannyg66 update: X-ray showed no fracture. He is receiving treatment for bruising & will return to the field later in the game
— England Cricket (@ECB_cricket) July 1, 2013
4:23pm - Jaik Mickleburgh, on 69, pulls, cover-drives and pulls fours from the first three balls of Pietersen’s next over. However, Mickleburgh is becalmed in a fine Finn maiden that immediately follows.
4:17pm - Pietersen sends down two tidy overs, in between which Mark Pettini gets going with four off Finn.
4:04pm - WICKET! Bopara c Prior b Finn 12; Ess 121/4 - Ravi Bopara falls in the first over after tea, caught behind pushing forward to Steven Finn, who had switched ends. That means both Matt Prior and Kevin Pietersen have taken catches to end the innings of men they had earlier dropped.
3:42pm - TEA - Ess 121/3; Mickleburgh 65, Bopara 12 - Pietersen bowls the final over before tea and there is further turn in evidence. Essex added 101 runs in the afternoon for the loss of Rutherford and Shah.
3:33pm - After being driven for four by Bopara, Root almost has Mickleburgh caught at slip. The batsman got just enough on his late cut to beat Jonathan Trott.
3:24pm - MISSED CHANCE - The luckless Onions sees a second chance go down off his bowling. Ravi Bopara is beaten by late away movement off the seam and edges to the right of Prior, who cannot hang on to a one-handed chance.
3:17pm - FIFTY! Mickleburgh (85b 8x4 0x6) - Mickleburgh steers Onions down to third man for his eighth four and moves past 50 in the process. Well batted Jaik.
3:15pm - Just like Craddock before him, Root is finding plenty of turn. There may not be too much in this pitch for the seamers, but spinners have benefited from plentiful assistance.
2:58pm - WICKET! Shah c Prior b Root 8; Ess 84/3 - With Swann still off the field, Joe Root is introduced as England's primary spin option and strikes with his third ball! Shah popped up a simple catch to Matt Prior, having been completely deceived by one that bounced and spun sharply off a length.
2:52pm - The slowness of the pitch is illustrated as Mickleburgh pulls a short delivery from Bresnan through midwicket. He has 39 now and Essex are on to 82 for two.
2:36pm - Mickleburgh survives a decent lbw shout from Onions. Replays show the opener was struck just outside the line by one that nipped back off a length. Good decision from umpire Richard Kettleborough.
2:25pm - Owais Shah is the new batsman. Meanwhile, we have an update from the Australia camp...
Darren Lehmann confirms Shane Watson and Chris Rogers will open the batting for Australia in the first #Ashes Test at Trent Bridge.
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) July 1, 2013
2:22pm - WICKET! Rutherford c Pietersen b Bresnan 27; Ess 65/2 - No mistake from Pietersen on this occasion. Rutherford again drives aerially and is held at mid-off. Bresnan is having an excellent day.
2:15pm - Rutherford continues to impress with his off-side play. He is so strong between cover and backward point.
2:06pm - Bresnan enters the attack and concedes four leg byes in unfortunate fashion as a short ball deflects past wicketkeeper Matt Prior off Rutherford’s back. The batsman was looking to evade a short ball and failed! A more convincing stroke follows through cover, taking Essex past 50.
2pm - Jaik Mickleburgh collects successive fours off Finn to move to 21. As Tim Bresnan and Swann demonstrated in their stand of 187, this is a good pitch for batting.
1:47pm - MISSED CHANCE - And now Rutherford receives a bigger let-off! The left-hander chips Graham Onions towards mid-on, but Kevin Pietersen drops the ball diving to his left. Onions strikes Rutherford on the arm later in the over but then offers up width and is punished.
1:44pm - Hamish Rutherford gets lucky in the first over after lunch as a thick edge off Steven Finn beats gully and runs away for four.
1:34pm - Graeme Swann will undergo an X-ray on his injured arm this afternoon. We will keep you updated with any further information.
1:03pm - LUNCH - Ess 20/1; Mickleburgh 10, Rutherford 6 - New Zealand batsman Hamish Rutherford, a player familiar with facing England, hammers Onions to the cover fence prior to lunch. The national team have enjoyed a good session, but will be keen to receive a positive update regarding the injury suffered by Swann.
12:47pm - WICKET! Westley c Prior b Finn 4; Ess 8/1 - Finn gets one to nip away from Westley, who feathers an edge through to Matt Prior.
12:44pm - Perhaps unsurprisingly, Graeme Swann does not take the field for the start of the Essex innings. Let's hope he has not suffered any serious damage after being struck on the right arm by Tymal Mills this morning.
Steven Finn and Graham Onions share the new ball and each concede early boundaries. The former is pulled fine by Tom Westley before Jaik Mickleburgh drives an Onions full-toss back past the bowler.
12:26pm - CENTURY! Bresnan (182b 12x4 0x6) - Eng declare on 413/9 - With only last man Graham Onions for company, Bresnan picks up successive fours off Westley, through cover and wide long-on, to move to 99. A powerful slog-sweep over the midwicket rope then takes the Yorkshireman to three figures and England promptly declare.
12:20pm - WICKET! Finn lbw Craddock 0; Eng 399/9 - Steven Finn is trapped plumb in front first ball and Craddock has five! He is also on a hat-trick!
12:18pm - WICKET! Swann c Bopara b Craddock 94; Eng 399/8 - Craddock does add to his tally! Swann looks to clear mid-on and falls victim to a juggling catch from Bopara. That was a fine innings from England's spinner, but he departs just short of three figures.
12:16pm - Ah, now we will see Craddock from the Hayes Close End. Can the youngster add to his three wickets thus far?
Australia, meanwhile, begin their final pre-Ashes tour match against Worcestershire tomorrow. They have named a team showing five changes from the win over Somerset, with Chris Rogers, Steven Smith, Ashton Agar, Ryan Harris and Jackson Bird the men to come in.
12:13pm - Bopara turns to spin, but it is Tom Westley who is called upon rather than leggie Tom Craddock, the star performer on day one.
— England Cricket (@ECB_cricket) July 1, 2013
12:01pm - It's a change of ends for Mills, who is pulled for four by Swann. That takes England's number nine to 90 and Bresnan moves to 87 in the next over courtesy of an elegant driven four off Bopara.
11:52am - Mahmood is operating at a rather sedate pace and Bresnan has plenty of time when pulling behind square for four. Mills is subsequently withdrawn from the attack, with Ravi Bopara taking over.
11:41am - Mahmood is unable to offer the same threat as Mills and England's eighth-wicket pair take their stand beyond 150. Swann is 16 shy of three figures.
11:32am - Goodness me! Mills finishes a hostile over by striking Bresnan on the grille with another vicious delivery.
11:28am - There is a large lump on Swann's arm, but thankfully England's senior spinner is able to bat on after accepting a couple of painkillers.
The next ball from Mills is a superb bouncer, but Swann manages to fend it off. This is a good contest.
11:26am - The pacy Mills rushes Swann with a well-directed short ball. The batsman was struck on the right forearm and will now require some treatment. Hopefully this isn’t anything serious.
11:15am - Tim Bresnan follows his partner's lead with a gorgeous cover-driven four off Mills. Runs have come rather easily for England this morning and they are now 350 for seven.
11:05am - Graeme Swann picks up his ninth four in Sajid Mahmood's opening over and then cracks Tymal Mills through cover-point to move to 72.
10:58am - Here come the players. Let's see how many more runs England can add.
10:52am - Once England's innings comes to an end, there will be an opportunity for the bowlers to shine. In the absence of the rested James Anderson and Stuart Broad, the national side's pace attack is comprised of Bresnan, Steven Finn and Graham Onions. Graeme Swann, meanwhile, will be encouraged by the turn Craddock found on day one.
10:42am - Bresnan and Swann will resume this morning with 55 and 62 respectively, having put on 116 thus far.
All of England's frontline batsmen got starts on a true surface, but were unable to kick on as youngsters Tymal Mills and Tom Craddock impressed for Essex.
10:35am - Morning everyone. England did not have the ideal opening day at Chelmsford, but an unbroken century partnership between Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann enabled Andy Flower's men to reach 328 for seven in the LV= Challenge against Essex. Day two of four begins shortly.