Lawrence delighted to earn Essex draw
PUBLISHED: 09:30 11 April 2017
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Youngster reflects on match-saving century
Dan Lawrence was delighted to do his bit to help Essex earn a draw with Lancashire in their first Specsavers County Championship Division One match of the season.
Lawrence, 19, hit an unbeaten 141 during a seven-hour stay at the crease as Essex reached 316-6 in pursuit of an improbably target of 478 at Chelmsford.
And he was quick to pay tribute to his team-mates, while also reflecting on the difficulties suffered by Essex during the match.
He said: “It’s the favourite of my five centuries because I managed to bat all day and get the team out of a hole.
“I didn’t do it all alone, there were fantastic efforts from the other boys. Tom Westley played beautifully at the start of the day. The skipper came in and played fantastically well. And then Simon Harmer at the end, with a bit of pressure on him, played wonderfully as well.
“But it is quite important not to celebrate a draw. We had our backs up against the walls, it was a tough first three days, and it took a lot of character from the boys to fight through and get a draw.
“Personally, it is very satisfying, but we will look to push on and get a win next week at Taunton.”
Former Trinity High Schoool pupil Lawrence had to dig in for the most part, with few of the flamboyant strokes usually associated with his batting.
But he was more than happy to focus on survival, adding: “It wasn’t hard to put my usual shots away because I knew I had to bat all day and runs were never going to be an issue. We were never going to chase down 478.
“It was more a mental battle for myself. I never play an innings like that, I normally try and put the pressure on the bowler. But it was nice to bat all day and have some good partnerships.
“It was nice to see that we aren’t going to fall down when someone puts a lot of pressure on us.“I was just focusing ball by ball because I knew it was a fourth-day wicket and there were going to be good balls out there – just get through the good ones and put the bad ones away.
“I honestly didn’t believe I could bat that long, but it’s nice that I did. I’ve never batted this long before, though I was in a long time at Leicester last season. It’s a very good start to the year for me and I’m happy and it will give me confidence for the next few games.”
The teenager enjoyed a good battle with England’s all-time leadinng Test wicket-taker Jimmy Anderson, adding: “There were a few words of encouragement from Jimmy! No, he didn’t have much to say, to be fair. They were trying to get me out as hard as they could and I was trying to survive.
“They have a fantastic bowling attack so we knew if myself or Tom or Ryan (ten Doeschate) got out they were going to lump on loads of pressure. So it was important to concentrate all through the day and I had a lot of help throughout and it was fantastic.”
Lancashire’s stand-in captain Anderson paid tribute to Lawrence, after seeing his side frustrated, adding: “He played well. He played exactly as you should do on that pitch – he played straight and got away with an edge early on in his innings on nought but that can happen and he made the most of it.
“He’s clearly got a good temperament to bat the way he did and steer his team home to the draw. As a 19-year-old he’s still got a long way to go.
“The first couple of days there was a bit in the pitch but it just got dried out and slower and slower as the game went on so it was pretty difficult to try and winkle out eight wickets.
“It’s frustrating but all credit to Essex, I thought they played brilliantly today. We bowled as well as we could to try to win the game but couldn’t quite get over the line.”