Walker and Pettini frustrate Northants

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Matt Walker

Matt Walker, pictured, shared an unbroken 147-run stand with Mark Pettini to ensure a draw after Essex were 82 for four today

Matt Walker and Mark Pettini each struck unbeaten half-centuries as Essex secured a draw on the final day of their LV= County Championship Division Two clash with Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.

The visitors overcame a shaky start to reach 229 for four in their second innings - a lead of 124 - before declaring and ending the match.

They were indebted to an unbroken partnership of 147 between Walker and Pettini, who frustrated Northants for more than 50 overs and finished on 70 and 67 respectively.

Essex resumed this morning on 26 without loss, a deficit of 79, and still trailed by 23 when they lost their fourth wicket shortly before lunch. However, the hosts were unable to press home their advantage as Walker and Pettini dug in.

Billy Godleman added just eight to his overnight 16 before edging Rob White to Northants captain Andrew Hall at slip in the second over of the day.

England opener Alastair Cook made it to 28 but was also caught behind the wicket as he nicked a terrific delivery from former Sri Lanka seamer Chaminda Vaas through to Niall O’Brien.

This led to a period where the Essex batsmen retreated into their shells, seemingly afraid to play any more shots.

Ravi Bopara made a painful five from 41 balls before being put out of his misery by Hall, who induced another edge through to O’Brien, and things got worse for the visitors when a Lee Daggett delivery crashed into Jaik Mickelburgh’s off stump.

Walker and Pettini regrouped thereafter and the latter hit Jack Brooks down the ground for four in the fifth over after lunch to put his side ahead.

Walker subsequently brought up his half-century, from 103 balls, with a powerful shot to the cover fence off Hall.

With Northants’ hopes of victory fading fast, Pettini also moved past 50 and Essex reached tea in a comfortable position on 198 for four.

A further 31 runs were added before Essex skipper James Foster called a halt to his side’s innings at 4:50pm.

Both teams come away from the match with 10 points.

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