Ten Doeschate to the fore
Ryan ten Doeschate recorded his highest score for Essex to spearhead a fine recovery on the second day of the tour match against Sri Lanka at Chelmsford.
The Netherlands all-rounder plundered 164 from 174 deliveries, which included 24 fours and a six, as Essex were bowled out for 351 in reply to 337 for nine declared.
He had to share some of the limelight, though, with Surjav Randiv taking a hat-trick after he had dismissed the centurion.
When ten Doeschate arrived at the crease Essex were in serious trouble at 24 for three, but he and 21-year-old Tom Westley revived them with a partnership of 195 in 43 overs.
That was broken when Westley was caught behind off paceman Dilhara Fernando for 99, an innings that included 17 fours, many of them flowing drives through the cover region.
Following Westley's dismissal, ten Doeschate continued to dominate until he was bowled around his legs by off-spinner Randiv.
His departure signalled a rapid decline in the innings as Randiv landed his hat-trick by bowling Maurice Chambers and removing Reece Topley and Tom Craddock lbw.
Tim Phillips and Tymal Mills produced a few bold strokes to carry Essex into the lead before Ajantha Mendis brought the innings to a close by having Mills stumped.
Randiv finished with 4-76, those wickets arriving in the space of 16 deliveries at a cost of five runs. However, it proved another unrewarding day for Ravi Bopara.
He perished for five when a wild swish at Farveez Maharoof found Kumar Sangakkara at second slip. He has now failed to reach double figures in his last four innings and failed to top 30 in his last six.
Former captain Mark Pettini is another batsman struggling to rediscover his form. He had not got off the mark when he edged Thisara Perera to first slip.
His latest failure means that he has scored just 89 runs in his last eight innings and, like Bopara, must be wondering when he will post his next substantial contribution.
Earlier, 17-year-old Topley provided further evidence of his rich promise by taking 4-6 in 6.4 overs as the tourists subsided from an overnight 324 for four.
The left-arm fast bowler wrapped up the innings with his ability to swing the ball, having Sangakkara caught behind for 153 - an innings that included 23 fours and a six.
The youngster was soon adding to his list of victims when the tourists went in a second time. In his second over he had Lahiru Thirimanne, a centurionr in the first innings, caught behind for six and at the close Sri Lanka were seven for one.