Brown and Read turn the screw on Essex
Nottinghamshire 126 for 5 v Essex 154
An unbroken half-century partnership between Alistair Brown and Chris Read enabled title-chasing Nottinghamshire to gain the upper hand of their Championship duel against Essex at Chelmsford.
By stumps they had put on 54 in 13 overs to carry their side to 126 for 5 in reply to an Essex total of 154 all out that represented something of a recovery after they had lost half their side for 45.
Their problems began in the fourth over of the morning when John Maunders was needlessly run out attempting a single. Jaik Mickleburgh was bowled by Charlie Shreck soon afterwards before Andre Adams plunged the home side into further trouble when he removed Billy Godleman and Matt Walker in the same over.
He did so by finding enough swing and lift to discover the edge and wicketkeeper Read did the rest. Paul Franks then got rid of Tom Westley, again with the help of the impressive Read who went on to claim six victims in an innings for the seventh time in his career.
Tim Phillips did his best to keep the Essex innings afloat after entering the battle with the score on 69 for 6. His concentration and careful shot selection enabled him to gather a valuable unbeaten 46 that contained seven boundaries.
His biggest support came from Maurice Chambers, the pair putting together a stand of 34 for the final wicket which represented the highest of the innings. Shreck and Franks finished with 3 for 40 and 3 for 20 respectively while Adams' two successes came at a cost of 26.
While Chambers performed doggedly with the bat, it was with the new ball that he made the biggest impact, his hostility and swing quickly putting Nottinghamshire on the back foot. He struck in his opening over by getting rid of Bilal Shafayat with an lbw decision and then bowled Alex Hales.
He later trapped Steve Mullaney leg before and so often did he pass the outside edge that he could consider himself unlucky not to have claimed further successes. The other two wickets to fall were picked up by left-arm spinner Phillips. Mark Wagh fell lbw while Samit Patel was caught at short leg by Godleman while pushing forward.
Nottinghamshire found themselves in trouble at 72 for 5 before they gained the initiative through Brown and Read. Read completed a highly successful day's work by reaching the close on 31 which included a straight driven six at the expense of Phillips.
Brown will resume on 30 with Nottinghamshire seeking another 29 to move into a first-innings lead. An absorbing opening day finished with Chambers having claimed 3 for 49 and Phillips 2 for 17.