Centurions put Essex on course at Northants

PUBLISHED: 18:37 30 May 2016 | UPDATED: 18:38 30 May 2016

Essex's James Foster (pic: Empics)

Essex's James Foster (pic: Empics)


Ten Doeschate and Foster help build big lead

Essex have put themselves into a strong position heading into the final day of their county championship match at Northamptonshire.

Captain Ryan ten Doeschate and James Foster both hit centuries on day three as the Division Two leaders declared their first innings on a whopping 640-9, a lead of 196.

And their bowlers then made inroads in the home side’s second innings in the closing stages, as Northants closed on 56-4, to raise hopes of forcing a victory on Tuesday.

Essex resumed on 274-2 and Tom Westley brought up his half-century soon after with a drive through mid-wicket for four off Ben Sanderson.

Westley reached the landmark off 92 balls, with seven boundaries, and the home side took the new ball soon after.

Ravi Bopara moved to his half-century from 107 balls, also with seven fours, but Westley fell moments later, caught down the leg side by wicketkeeper David Murphy off the bowling of Richard Gleeson for 69 to end a 122-run stand for the third wicket.

Bopara departed for 58, trapped leg before by Steven Crook when trying to work the ball into the leg side, and former Trinity High School pupil Dan Lawrence was run out for 12 on the stroke of lunch to leave Essex 357-5.

Ashar Zaidi gave ten Doeschate good support after the restart in a 65-run stand, hitting seven fours in his 35 off 34 balls before mistiming a hook and giving Ollie Stone a return catch to leave Essex 422-6.

But ten Doeschate brought up the fastest half-century of the Essex innings from 56 balls, after hitting two sixes and four fours, and took his side past Northamptonshire’s 444 in partnership with Wanstead old boy James Foster.

The seventh-wicket duo piled on the pressure, with ten Doeschate reaching his century from 106 balls and Foster racing to 50 from just 44 balls, with five fours as the lead neared three figures.

And their stand had reached a record 150 as Essex moved to 572-6 at tea, with ten Doeschate unbeaten on 116 and Foster 78 not out.

The visitors kept the scoreboard ticking over in the final session, with Foster reaching his century off just 85 balls with three sixes and eight fours.

But ten Doeschate was eventually run out for 145, ending a 215-run partnership, and Foster followed very next ball for 113, caught by Monty Panesar at third man off the bowling of Gleeson.

And when Matt Quinn was dismissed, edging behind to Murphy, Essex declared on 640-9 to leave the home side with 19 overs to face before the close of play.

Only 15 balls had gone when Quinn trapped Rob Newton leg before without scoring to make an early breakthrough for Essex.

And Bopara followed up by earning a verdict to send Rob Keogh back to pavilion, before Quinn dismissed Josh Cobb first ball to make it 37-3.

Ashar Zaidi was then brought into the attack for the 14th over of the innings and struck with his very first ball to dismiss Ben Duckett, who scored 189 in the first innings, as Nick Browne held on to a catch at leg slip.

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