Essex v Somerset: Leaders extend advantage before rain stops play

PUBLISHED: 16:09 30 August 2017

Adam Wheater hits four runs for Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Adam Wheater hits four runs for Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Nick Browne and Adam Wheater batted Essex into a strong position during the 13 overs of play possible on a rain-hit third day at Chelmsford.

The fourth-wicket pair extended Essex’s lead over Somerset from 112 to 152 before Browne’s 198-ball vigil ended just before play was brought to a premature halt soon after noon.

Tim Groenewald arrowed a ball past Browne’s forward-defensive prod to dismiss the left-hander for 83 and 19 runs short of reaching 1,000 first-class runs for the third successive season.

The South Woodford left-hander had hit 12 fours and a six and been joined by Wheater the previous afternoon with Essex on a precarious 39-3.

Together the pair put on 118 in 45 overs to take Essex into a potentially winning position as they seek their fifth Specsavers County Championship victory in a row.

Wheater was unbeaten on 58 from 135 balls and playing beautifully when the rain set in for the day, with play finally abandoned at 4pm.

It has been a dispiriting summer for the batsman-wicketkeeper who returned from a spell at Hampshire a year ago.

Six of Wheater’s previous eight Championship innings had finished in single figures, but he reached his second half-century from 118 balls with his seventh four.

Wheater eased Craig Overton through the covers for his first boundary of the day and then went on to the back foot to pick up a second square on the off-side.

Another well-timed cover-drive off Paul van Meekeren brought up Wheater’s fifty and also took the fourth-wicket stand to 100.

When it ended, five overs later, it was the biggest partnership of the match by some 40 runs.

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