Essex dominate against Sri Lankans
PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 May 2016
In-form batsmen put pressure on tourists
Essex dominated the second day of their tour match with the Sri Lankans at Chelmsford to give themselves a good chance of victory on Tuesday.
Centuries from Jaik Mickleburgh and Tom Westley allowed the home side to declare with a 154-run lead, before claiming two wickets in the final hour of play at the County Ground.
And they will look to push home their advantage on the final day to maintain their fine start to the 2016 first-class campaign.
Essex resused on 81-2, having lost nightwatchman Tom Moore to the penultimate ball of the first day.
And they saw Mickleburgh and Westley share a century stand for the third wicket, as the tourists toiled in the field, to take the home side to 187-2 at lunch.
Mickleburgh, returning to the side in place of England Test captain Alastair Cook, went on to complete his century soon after the restart.
And having also hit successive hundreds against Cambridge University at Fenner’s he was eventually trapped leg before by Dhammika Prasad for 109, having hit 17 boundaries, with the total on 213.
Westley then put on 86 for the fourth wicket with Hainault’s Ravi Bopara as Essex moved into the lead, maintaining his excellent form with the bat to reach 108 from 154 balls, with 18 fours, before clipping Nuwan Pradeep to Dhananjaya de Silva at square leg.
Prasad had limped out of the tourist’s attack by this point and former Trinity High School pupil Dan Lawrence, 18, then dominated an unbroken 113-run stand for the fifth wicket with Bopara after tea, hitting two sixes and eight fours to finish unbeaten on 57 from 53 balls.
One-day captain Bopara was unbeaten on 87, from 129 deliveries, having hit nine fours as Essex declared after 100 overs on 412-4, a lead of 158.
And the Sri Lankans were soon in trouble in their second innings as Essex’s first-class debutant Aaron Beard followed his four first-innings wickets with another early scalp, dismissing Kaushal Silva cheaply.
Australian Matt Dixon got in on the act with his first wicket of the match to send Kusal Mendis packing, caught by Westley, off the last ball of the day to leave the Sri Lankans 42-2 and the Essex lead still in three figures.
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