Anderson struts his stuff
James Anderson recorded his best County Championship figures since 2002 as Lancashire dominated the opening day’s play at Chelmsford after putting Essex in.
The England fast bowler finished with 6-44 from 20.5 overs as Essex were bowled out for a meagre 176, to which the visitors responded with 83 for three before the close.
Anderson quickly announced his arrival by having openers Billy Godleman and Alastair Cook well taken in the slips in his second and third overs respectively.
With Glen Chapple producing inswingers to win leg-before verdicts against John Maunders and Jaik Mickleburgh, Essex found themselves in dire straits at 16 for four in the 14th over.
Captain Mark Pettini and James Foster launched a recovery of sorts with a fifth-wicket partnership worth 62 before both fell just before lunch.
Foster slashed a wide delivery from Sajid Mahmood to backward point after making 27, while Pettini edged Anderson to second slip after making 28.
Two more wickets fell cheaply but some semblance of respectability was achieved through the efforts of Ryan ten Doeschate and Chris Wright.
They combined for 27 overs in adding 70, during which time play was twice held up during an over from Mahmood in which ten Doeschate required attention following blows to the forearm.
Anderson, who maintained an admirable line and length throughout, wrapped up the innings to leave ten Doeschate unbeaten on 55, which spanned 115 balls and included just three boundaries.
Watch highlights from the day's play in the video player above
A feature of Lancashire's performance was their fielding, seven catches being held by fielders behind the wicket.
Whereas the visitors held everything which came their way, Cook, who contributed just three with the bat, put down a straightforward catch at first slip in the opening over of Lancashire's reply.
Tom Smith was the batsman to escape but he failed to make the most of his let-off, departing lbw to David Masters for only seven moments later.
By then Stephen Moore was well into his stride, quickly assuming control by hitting three fours and a six in Wright’s second over on the way to a thrilling 37-ball half-century.
Moore eventually fell for 61 - made off 58 deliveries and containing 10 fours and two sixes - an lbw victim for Maurice Chambers courtesy of a delivery that kept low.
Anderson, sent in as nightwatchman, was caught in the slips off Masters in the next over, but those late setbacks failed to take the gloss off a dominant Lancashire display.