Lees and Robinson pile the pressure on Essex

Essex v Durham – Vitality County Championship Division One – Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford – Day One – Report

Durham 445 for four (96.0overs)

Essex (yet to bat)

Durham won the toss and elected to bat

Durham impressively batted themselves into a strong position on the first day of their Vitality County Championship Division One encounter with title-chasing Essex at the Cloud County Ground.

The warm weather conditions drew a sizable audience to Chelmsford. However, it proved to be a tough watch for the home crowd as Durham piled on the runs at more than 4.6 per over.

Alex Lees reached three figures off 184 balls. He was eventually trapped lbw by Matt Critchley on 113. David Bedingham contributed 65. However, Ollie Robinson stole the show. By the close, the Sidcip-born wicketkeeper/batter finished the day unbeaten on 146 off just 164 balls. His 209-minute stint included sixteen 4s and four 6s.

Lees and Robinson put together a 136-run fourth wicket stand. Following the former’s departure, Colin Ackermann took up the mantle, reaching 58* off 74 by the close. His unbeaten partnership with Robinson gleaned a further 131.

On what was a tough day for the hosts’ beleaguered attack, recent South African recruit, Eathan Bosch, claimed Michael Jones with the second delivery of his Essex stint. The 26-year-old Right-Arm, Quick finished the day with figures of 13-1-72-2. Simon Harmer joined Critchley as the other Essex wicket-taker. However, in both cases that came at a cost, with Harmer going for 131 from 32 overs, while Critchley conceded 90 off 17.

Speaking to Alex Smith from the ECB Reporters Network, Essex captain Tom Westley said: “It was tough to say the least. It wasn’t our best day, we know that. We didn’t bowl as well as we could have or normally do.

“We have been relentless for a number of years and one bad day, while not ideal, is what it is. It is just one day and hopefully, we can bounce back tomorrow.

“I think it is a one-off. We have been so consistent for many years; our seamers, Harmy and Critch have all taken heaps of wickets so we just need to reinforce that things can change quickly.

“We didn’t have a lot of luck but that’s cricket. We have a good bunch of lads up there and things can change.

“We would have batted but credit to Durham, we know what a top team they are. Leesy batted brilliantly up front and then Robbo took it away from us as the day went on. All their batters got starts, so sometimes you just have to say well done to the opposition.

“Eathan will be pleased with his two wickets. He would have liked to have bowled a bit better but hopefully he kicks on.”

Play resumes on Monday at 11 am.

Essex: D Elgar, NLJ Browne, T Westley (Capt), JM Cox, MJJ Critchley, PI Walter, MS Pepper (WK), SR Harmer, S Snater, E Bosch, JA Porter

Durham: AZ Lees, MA Jones, CN Ackermann, DG Bedingham, SG Borthwick (Capt), OG Robinson (WK), BFW de Leede, BA Raine, MJ Potts, CF Parkinson, PM Siddle

Umpires: MJ Saggers and PR Pollard

Scorers: P Parkinson and WR Dobson

Match Referee: S Hinks

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk