Anderson six rattles Essex
Lancashire 83 for 3 v Essex 176
James Anderson recorded his best Championship figures since 2002 as Lancashire dominated the opening day's play at Chelmsford after putting Essex in.
The England fast bowler finished with six wickets for 44 runs from 20.5 overs as Essex were bowled out for 176, to which the visitors responded with 83 for 3 before the close.
Anderson quickly announced his arrival by having openers Billy Godleman and Alastair Cook well taken in the slips in his second and third overs. And with Glen Chapple producing inswingers to claim leg before wicket verdicts against John Maunders and Jaik Mickleburgh, Essex found themselves in dire straits at 16 for 4 in the 14th over.
Captain Mark Pettini and James Foster launched a recovery with a partnership of 62 before both fell just before the lunch interval. Foster slashed a wide delivery from Sajid Mahmood to backward point after making 27 while Pettini, on 28, edged Anderson to second slip.
Two more wickets fell cheaply but some semblance of respectability was achieved through the efforts of Ryan ten Doeschate and Chris Wright. They stuck it out for 27 overs while adding 70, during which time play was twice held up during an over from Mahmood in which ten Doeschate required attention following blows suffered on his forearm.
But Anderson, who maintained an admirable line and length throughout, was to wrap up the innings to leave ten Doeschate stranded unbeaten with 55 which spanned 115 balls and included just three boundaries.
A feature of Lancashire's performance was their fielding, seven catches being held by fielders behind the wicket. Whereas the visitors held everything which came their way, Cook - who contributed just three with the bat - put down a straightforward catch at first slip in the opening over of Lancashire's reply.
Tom Smith was the batsman to escape but he failed to make the most of his let-off, departing lbw to David Masters for only 7. However, by then Stephen Moore was well into his stride. He quickly assumed control by collecting three fours and a six from Wright's second over and went on to complete his half-century from 37 deliveries.
Moore eventually fell for 61, containing 10 fours and two sixes, and lbw victim of Maurice Chambers from a delivery that kept low. Anderson, sent in as nightwatchman, was caught in the slips in the next over from Masters but despite those two late setbacks, it still proved Lancashire's day.