Bowlers earn Essex big lead
Essex 307 and 26 for 1 v Lancashire 184
Essex's bowlers ensured they held a commanding advantage over Lancashire after two days of their County Championship Division One match at Old Trafford. The home side's batting order has rarely looked steady this campaign and they struggled again as five of the six bowlers used by Essex captain Mark Pettini got amongst the wickets.
The scorecard was at its worst when the lacklustre hosts were reduced to 101 for 7 at the end of the 37th over in reply to Essex's first-innings total of 307. But at least a fourth County Championship half-century of the summer for Sajid Mahmood helped his side avoid the follow-on and reach 184 all out.
Mahmood finished with 58, off as many balls, while Pakistani leg-spinner Danish Kaneria was the pick of the visiting attack with 3 for 42 from 13.1 overs. Maurice Chambers and Ryan ten Doeschate had claimed two each of the first seven but Lancashire were hampered by a bout of sickness for regular opener Stephen Moore. The ex-Worcestershire batsman only came in at No. 6 and made just 3.
Essex opener Billy Godleman was the 15th wicket to fall in the day when he was caught behind by Luke Sutton off the bowling of Kyle Hogg in the visiting side's second innings. They reached 26 for 1 from 13 overs at close and will begin day three with a lead of 149.
The day could hardly have started better for the hosts after Essex could only add another 56 to their overnight total and left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan finished with a career-best of 6 for 74 from 38.3 overs. Kerrigan took all four wickets, including three in eight balls, to ensure his side claimed a third bowling point in the nick of time.
He took two wickets in the 110th over, including Kaneria bowled off the last ball of it, to reduce Essex to 299 for 9 and prevent the visitors claiming another bonus point of their own. Kerrigan then knocked over last man Maurice Chambers, caught by Mark Chilton, to leave Lancashire felling better about themselves.
Chambers soon changed that as he bowled Luke Sutton and Ashwell Prince, the latter with a beauty with the first ball of the afternoon session. ten Doeschate had Paul Horton and Moore caught in the gully by Ravi Bopara and behind by James Foster respectively.
Chris Wright trapped Steven Croft lbw in between before David Masters had skipper Glen Chapple caught behind and Kaneria snared Mark Chilton lbw for 49. And when Hogg was run out by Bopara in the covers two overs into the evening session Lancashire were 123 for 8 in the 44th over.
Kaneria then had Kerrigan caught by a diving Bopara at mid-wicket before Mahmood skied one to Walker to complete the innings.