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Essex continue to dominate

Essex CCC

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Essex were firmly in control of their LV= County Championship Division Two match against Leicestershire at Chelmsford after day two.

Centuries from Tom Westley and Jaik Mickleburgh lifted Essex to an imposing 434 for three declared, and the visitors were then reduced to 32 for two at stumps.

David Masters roared in to remove Greg Smith and Ned Eckersley as Leicestershire ended the day still 253 short of the follow-on target.

When Essex resumed on 161 without loss, Westley and Mickleburgh continued to find the gaps and brought up the county's first double-century opening stand since 2004.

Leicestershire were also on the receiving end on that occasion as Alastair Cook and Will Jefferson prospered.

Mickleburgh became the first batsman to move into three figures when he on-drove Michael Thornely to the long-on boundary to register his third century for the county.

Westley went on to celebrate his third ton for Essex with a quickly-taken single.

Tom Westley

An opening stand of 248 between Tom Westley, pictured, and Jaik Mickleburgh put Essex in complete control at Chelmsford

It was the first time two Essex openers had scored centuries in the same championship innings since Cook and Jefferson put Leicestershire to the sword.

The new ball was taken at 232 but it was a run-out 16 runs later that brought the visitors their first success of the match; Mickleburgh failed to regain his ground as Thornely threw down the stumps from short cover after the batsman had been sent back.

The 22-year-old’s innings of 126 was spread over 243 deliveries, including 14 fours and one six.

Lunch was taken at 259 for one, the morning session having produced 98 runs, and soon afterwards Westley's fine effort was ended on 125 by medium-pacer Wayne White, who produced a delivery which kept low.

Two deliveries later, rain arrived to cause an 80-minute hold-up and when play resumed Owais Shah and Mark Pettini saw Essex to 300 in the 98th over and a third batting point.

Another stoppage after fewer than eight overs brought about an early tea at 308 for two. When play did restart, Shah soon fell lbw to left-arm spinner Claude Henderson for 36.

The arrival of Ryan ten Doeschate brought about a welcome increase in the tempo. He quickly found the extra-cover boundary and followed it with an off-driven six against Henderson to bring up the 350 in the 110th over.

Another ten Doeschate six against the same bowler, this time via an on-drive, inflicted further punishment on the toiling visiting attack.

Pettini also scored freely enough to complete his half-century, containing five fours, from 60 balls before ten Doeschate's third six against Henderson saw him to the same milestone in 48 deliveries.

The next landmark was the 100 partnership in 17 overs before the declaration arrived, with Pettini unbeaten on 72. Ten Doeschate's contribution to a stand of 120 was a run-a-ball 63.

Leicestershire were soon plunged into trouble when, with only six runs on the board, Mickleburgh picked up a smart catch at short-leg to remove Smith and provide Masters with his first success against his former county.

Two runs later, the seamer struck again as ten Doeschate held a catch above his head at short midwicket to remove Eckersley.

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