Wheater runs hot for Essex

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Adam Wheater

Adam Wheater made light of Essex's early struggles against the new ball to smite 17 fours and five sixes in a thrilling 120-ball 135

Essex’s Adam Wheater seized his chance to impress watching England selector James Whitaker as he destroyed Gloucestershire’s attack on the first day of the LV= County Championship match.

The 21-year-old plundered 135 off only 120 balls as Essex recovered from 55 for five to reach 359 for nine in the Division Two clash at Colchester.

Wheater pulled and drove with immense authority against pace and spin alike as he smashed 17 fours and five sixes.

The suffering endured by the visiting bowlers ended when he was trapped leg before by paceman Ian Saxelby, but only after he and Ryan ten Doeschate had shared in a stand of 204 in 38 overs.

Ten Doeschate went on to register a season’s best of 120 not out, having been reprieved by a change of heart from umpire Steve Gale.

He was adjudged caught behind following a half-hearted appeal from bowler Will Gidman off the final delivery of the morning session, but before ten Doeschate and the rest of the players left the field the umpire informed the batsman that he had made a mistake and reversed his decision.

Ten Doeschate, who had made only 10 at the time, showed his thanks by going on to help himself to 10 fours and a six before bad light cut 11 overs from the day’s schedule.

Graham Napier also piled the misery on a toiling Gloucestershire attack by hitting two sixes among his six boundaries before he was caught behind for 45.

It capped a successful opening day for Essex, who still nurse hopes of figuring in the promotion race.

It could not have begun in worse fashion, though, Billy Godleman lbw to the first ball of the match to give bowler Jon Lewis his 50th championship wicket of the summer.

The same bowler followed it up by locating Owais Shah’s edge, David Payne had Tom Westley caught behind and Will Gidman removed Jaik Mickleburgh and James Foster in the same over.

Any hopes Gloucestershire might have entertained of dismissing their opponents cheaply vanished as Wheater and ten Doeschate took charge to establish a new sixth-wicket record stand at Colchester, beating the 178 added by Trevor Bailey and Ray Smith against Lancashire in 1951.

Lewis emerged as the most successful Gloucestershire bowler with close-of-play figures of 3-43.

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