Wheater and ten Doeschate give Essex advantage
Essex 359 for 9 v Gloucestershire
Essex's Adam Wheater seized his chance to impress watching England selector James Whittaker as he destroyed Gloucestershire's attack on the first day of their Division Two match at Colchester. The pugnacious 21-year-old right-hander plundered 135 as Essex recovered from 55 for 5 to post a total of 359 for 9 wickets
Wheater pulled and drove with immense authority against pace and spin alike as he scored his runs from 124 deliveries and smashed 17 fours and five sixes. The suffering endured by the visiting bowlers ended when he was trapped leg before by paceman Ian Saxelby - but only after he and Ryan ten Doeschate had shared in a stand of 204 in 38 overs.
Ten Doeschate went on to register a season's Championship best of 120 not out but only after a change of heart by umpire Steve Gale.
From the final ball of the morning session, the Netherlands allrounder was given out caught behind following a half-hearted appeal from bowler Will Gidman. But before Ten Doeschate and the rest of the players left the field, the umpire informed the batsman that he had made a mistake and reversed his original decision.
The batsman, who had only made 10 at the time of his reprieve, showed his thanks by going on to help himself to 10 fours and a six before bad light cut 11 overs from the day's schedule.
Graham Napier also piled the misery on a toiling attack by hitting two sixes among his six boundaries before he was caught behind for 45. It all ended up as a successful opening day for Essex who still nurse hopes of figuring in the promotion race.
But it could not have started more disastrously. Billy Godleman was out lbw to the first delivery of the match to give bowler Jon Lewis his 50th Championship wicket of the summer and the bowler quickly followed up by having Owais Shah caught in the slips.
David Payne then had Tom Westley snapped up behind before Will Gidman removed Jaik Mickleburgh and James Foster in the same over. However any hopes Gloucestershire might have entertained of dismissing their opponents vanished as Wheater and Ten Doeschate took charge to establish a new sixth wicket record stand by any county at Colchester. The previous best was 178 by Trevor Bailey and Ray Smith against Lancashire in 1951.
Lewis emerged as the visitors' most successful bowler with 3 for 43 whilst Gidman and Payne claimed 2 for 65 and 2 for 74 respectively.