Browne’s career-best boosts Essex

PUBLISHED: 18:46 15 May 2016 | UPDATED: 18:46 15 May 2016

Nick Browne in batting action for Essex (pic: TGSPHOTO)

Nick Browne in batting action for Essex (pic: TGSPHOTO)

TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League images are subject to DataCo Licencing restrictions

Opener bats throughout day against Derbyshire

South Woodford’s Nick Browne batted throughout the first day of Essex’s county championship match with Derbyshire to hit a career best 154 not out at Chelmsford.

Left-hander Browne shared century stands with Ravi Bopara and Dan Lawrence as the Division Two leaders closed on 284-3 and will be looking to push on and build a big first innings total on day two.

Essex handed a championship debut to young Aaron Beard in place of David Masters, after his impressive bowling display in the weather-affected tour match against Sri Lanka.

But the home side were put into bat by Derbyshire captain Billy Godleman, the former Essex opener, who elected to field first and saw Browne and Jaik Mickleburgh put on 61 for the first wicket.

Former Essex seamer Tony Palladino made the breakthrough for the visitors, trapping Mickleburgh leg before for 24, and he followed up with a similar dismissal to get rid of the in-form Tom Westley without scoring.

After hitting four centuries already this season, Westley had reportedly been close to a call-up for England’s Test with Sri Lanka, but after his rare failure Essex reached lunch on 101-2.

Browne had reached his half-century off 78 balls, with 11 fours, and was unbeaten on 60 at the interval.

And the hosts kept the scoreboard ticking along after the restart, with Bopara giving Browne good support in a century stand.

The 25-year-old Browne brought up his 10th first-class hundred shortly before tea, having faced 203 deliveries and hit 18 fours.

Bopara fell one short of his fifty, though, as he was trapped leg before by Shiv Thakor to end a 111-run partnership and Essex went into tea soon after on 189-3.

Former Trinity High School pupil Lawrence, 18, helped Browne bring up the 200 and earn a first batting point for Essex after a slow start to the final session of the day.

And the fourth-wicket pair continued to make comfortable progress, bringing up their half-century stand in 17 overs before Derbyshire took the new ball.

A second batting point was secured with eight overs remaining in the day and Browne reached his 150 from 293 balls, with 23 fours, as Lawrence posted his half-century from 104 deliveries with five fours.

The century partnership came up moments later as Browne surpassed his previous best score of 151 on a landmark day to see Essex through to the close.

Essex 284-3: Browne 154*, Mickleburgh 24; Westley 0; Bopara 49; Lawrence 51*; Palladino 2-61.

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