Tom Westley impresses for Essex
Essex 345 and 131 for 4 v Hampshire 354
Tom Westley confirmed his rich promise by guiding Essex out of trouble in their County Championship clash against Hampshire at Chelmsford.
Although they only trailed by nine runs on the first innings, the home county lost Billy Godleman and John Maunders in the first couple of overs before the arrears were cleared. But 21-year-old Westley played the leading role with captain Mark Pettini to start a recovery which ended with Essex reaching the close on 131 for four. He will resume the final day on 69.
Westley laced his innings with nine boundaries, many of them well-struck drives either side of the wicket. While he was prepared to attack, Pettini adopted a cautious approach and needed 60 deliveries to move into double figures. Pettini went on to contribute just 19 from 83 deliveries before he cut David Griffiths into the hands of Mike Carberry in the gully.
His dismissal brought to an end a stand of 80 in 28 overs, after which Westley became subdued. After his entertaining progress that carried him to his half-century from 68 deliveries, he took a further 88 to add another 19. The value of his effort, however, was further highlighted when James Foster, in the final over of the day, pulled a delivery from Griffiths into the waiting hands of Chris Benham at square leg.
Essex will go into the final day with a lead of 122 and with Hampshire hoping to make quick inroads to inspire hopes of victory. But given that the pitch is still very friendly, the odds are on the match ending in a draw.
Earlier in the day, Hampshire were bowled out for 354 after resuming on 234 for five in response to an Essex total of 345 all out. Nearly half their runs came from Jimmy Adams who, resuming on 113, went on to make 169 before he was ninth man out.
Fast bowler David Masters finally ended his resistance by bowling him to bring the curtain down on an innings which spanned eight hours. During that time he faced 356 balls and collected 23 fours. Masters went on to return figures of four for 67 in 36.4 overs.