Essex press home advantage after crucial captain’s knock
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
County Championship Division One: Essex (328) lead Yorkshire (208 & 38-3) by 82 runs with seven wickets remaining
Ryan ten Doeschate helped Essex take control of their County Championship Division One match at home to Yorkshire on day two at Chelmsford with a timely half century.
The captain arrived at the crease with his team still behind the visitors' total of 208 and was there until they were dismissed for 328 - their highest first-class score at the County Ground this year.
He finished unbeaten on 70 after an impressive partnership with Aaron Beard, who fell nine short of what would have been a deserved fifty.
Peter Siddle then picked up two wickets before the close to leave the away side on 34-3 and needing another 82 runs to force Essex to bat again.
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Anthony McGrath's side started the second day on 122-3 looking to press home their advantage with the bat after a strong day one at Chelmsford where Yorkshire were dismissed for 208.
Tom Westley took his time to get off the mark again, but Rishi Patel continued to add singles to his tally and scored the first boundary of the session with 26 minutes gone, flicking Ben Coad away.
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One-time England test batsmen Westley then grabbed his first runs of the day as the hosts survived a testing opening half an hour without the loss of any wickets.
A glance down to third man earned him four more and Yorkshire introduced Matt Fisher into the attack and then Duanne Olivier, who almost made the breakthrough in the 13th over of the day.
Patel flashed at a wide delivery and managed to just avoid Harry Brook in the slips and Westley had his own scare off Fisher soon after when he miscued a shot, but showed his class the following over with a fine drive for four to bring up Essex's 150.
Youngster Patel faced appeals from Olivier when on 33 - his previous best first-class score - but they were waved away and he moved on with two more to his tally.
But that was as good as it would get for the Brentwood boy, who was caught at short mid-wicket for 35 with lunch approaching.
Fisher forced the dismissal with Will Fraine taking a fine catch and Patel's 124-ball innings ended in his thirties, but after a crucial 68-run partnership with Westley.
Captain ten Doeschate came out to the crease and didn't need long to increase Essex's run-rate.
The skipper smashed a six over the River End Stand with his 10th ball and moved on to 14 off 18 balls by the end of the first session.
Alongside ten Doeschate was Westley on 79 not out, with Essex adding 71 runs in 32 overs and importantly losing just the one wicket despite a handful of scares.
Essex's captain signalled his intent after lunch by finding the boundary with his first shot and the 200 was brought up quickly.
Westley was not able to kick on any more though, as he fell lbw to Olivier for 81 and missed out on a first County Championship century since September 2018.
Yorkshire's South African fast bowler tried to ruffle up new batsman Adam Wheater, but he managed to hook away his first ball for four.
Essex moved past the visitors' total soon after and ten Doeschate continued to score quickly until he saw another partner depart.
Wheater edged behind Coad for six with the new ball only eight balls old and now the away side were firmly back in the contest with the scoreboard reading 219-6.
Fisher and Coad were keeping it tight and Simon Harmer's stay at the crease lasted only three runs when he played on to hand Fisher his third scalp of the match.
After being stuck on 32 for 18 balls and over eight overs, ten Doeschate started to get back to his busy self and had an able partner in Siddle.
The Australian helped Essex stop the flow of wickets and played his part in getting past 250 and earning a second batting point.
Siddle hit a four off Keshav Maharaj, but departed to the spinner the following ball for 19 to leave the home side on 253-8.
Next man in Aaron Beard defended doggedly and showed some flair with two drives for four in the 98th over.
It took Maharaj onto 67-1 off 27 overs with the South Africa struggling to turn the ball like Simon Harmer had done in Yorkshire's first effort with the bat.
Captain ten Doeschate edged closer towards a half century with a wonderfully timed cut and reached it an over later off 79 balls, including four fours and one huge six.
It was his highest score since April and a timely one with Essex hoping to make 300 and their efforts were boosted when the skipper ended Maharaj's over with a maximum straight down the ground.
Beard struck another boundary and then in Olivier's 19th over ten Doeschate brought up the third batting point for the hosts and the fifty partnership for the ninth wicket wasn't too far behind.
Essex had only passed 300 once before in the County Championship Division One at home this season.
Adam Lyth was thrown the ball afterwards to take Yorkshire into tea and Beard and ten Doeschate were able to see him off with no risks to finish the session on 304-8.
The 2017 County Championship champions scored 101 runs and lost four wickets, but young bowler Beard faced 47 balls for 27 runs to give take the hosts' into a strong position at Chelmsford.
It didn't take Essex long to increase their lead into three figures and they were able to post their best score at home in Division One this year, going past the 313 all out they managed against Kent in May.
Beard now had his highest first-class score in the County Championship as Yorkshire became increasingly frustrated in the field.
The bowler, who plays for Chelmsford in the Shepherd Neame League, moved closer to a half-century, but it was not to be.
Maharaj finally got turn out of the pitch, which got through the defence of the bowler to bowl him for 41.
He had shared a superb and potentially game-changing 75-run partnership for the ninth wicket with his captain though in 23 overs.
Maharaj did finish off Essex's innings a ball later with Jamie Porter dismissed for a golden duck, caught at slip, to bowl out the hosts for 328 - a lead of 120.
Captain ten Doeschate was stranded on 70 not out from 125 balls, a crucial knock and much-needed effort from the skipper, who had struggled for runs prior to this clash.
In the field, Essex quickly made inroads with Siddle making the breakthrough in his third over and Yorkshire's sixth.
Fraine was out cheaply and the Australian favourite at Chelmsford was celebrating again in his next over.
A lot of the plaudits went to Wheater, however, who snaffled a stunning catch in front of Sir Alastair Cook at first slip to send Gary Balance back to the pavilion for four.
Siddle had two-fer and Yorkshire were struggling on 14-2, still 106 runs shy of forcing Essex to bat again.
Harmer was thrown the ball at the River End, replacing Essex's Aussie and Beard then entered the attack for Porter.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore attempted to steady the ship and reached eight with a strike rate in the thirties before he was scalp number 55 for Harmer in the County Championship this season.
It was a shot to forget for Yorkshire's number four, but Lyth ardent vigil at the other end continued and he remain there at the close on nine off 57 balls.
Much of the visitors hopes in this contest now remain with the opener, although given how Harmer has bowled this season, there is every chance this game could be finished by the close day three.