Westley, Shah rack up runs for Essex
Glamorgan 438 and 16 for 0 trail Essex 520 for 9 dec. (Westley 185, Shah 138) trail by 273 runs
Tom Westley and Owais Shah both hit centuries as Essex declared on 520 for 9 in reply to Glamorgan's 438 all out on the third day at Colchester. Faced with six overs before the close and a deficit of 82 runs, the visitors steered clear of trouble to reach 16 without loss.
Westley made 185 and Shah 138 after Essex, who resumed on 165 without loss, warmed to their task against a toiling and innocuous attack. Jaik Mickleburgh added only two runs to his overnight score before he was caught behind by Mark Wallace off Huw Waters. His dismissal on 74 ended an opening stand of 178 and came immediately after Westley completed his century with three boundaries. It arrived from 149 balls and contained 20 fours.
The arrival of Shah hardly brought an increase in tempo. He needed 31 deliveries to open his account but then found his touch to complete a half-century from 98 balls. On a pitch that gave the bowlers no help, the third wicket pair were to put together a partnership of 191 in 56 overs. The longer it went on, the more subdued Westley became and he scored only 35 runs in 29 overs after lunch before his marathon effort, during which he surpassed his previous best of 132, finally ended on the stroke of tea when he fell lbw trying to sweep offspinner Robert Croft. His innings lasted 402 minutes and 334 balls, and in it, he gathered 28 fours.
By then Shah had completed his first century of the season, moving into three figures by advancing down the pitch and despatching a huge six over mid-wicket against Croft. It had arrived from 158 balls and contained 13 fours in addition to two maximums.
At tea, Essex still required 24 runs from three overs to move to 400 and pick up maximum bonus batting points. It was a mission they accomplished with just one ball to spare thanks to a flourish from Shah that included an on-side six against Jim Allenby but not before Mark Pettini was caught on the long-on boundary attacking Croft.
Shah's fine innings came to an end shortly afterwards when he drove Graham Wagg into the hands of Allenby at mid-off. He laced his 198 ball innings with four sixes and 17 fours.
The remaining batsmen came and went in rapid succession with Croft the main beneficiary as he took 5 for 135 in 30.5 overs although the home side were able to record their highest total of the summer.