ten Doeschate gives Essex small lead
Sri Lankans 337 for 9 dec (Sangakkara 153, Thirimanne 104, Topley 4-23) and 7 for 1 trail Essex 351 (ten Doeschate 164, Westley 99, Randiv 4-76) by seven runs
The Sri Lankans collapsed first, and then Essex wobbled. Ryan ten Doeschate rallied with a century, Tom Westley missed his by one run, and Suraj Randiv took a hat-trick. At the end of an eventful day at Chelmsford, the home side had secured a slender first-innings lead, and taken one Sri Lankan wicket without the advantage being erased.
When the second day began, Sri Lanka had the comfort of 324 runs with six wickets in hand, and Kumar Sangakkara was batting on a century. It all went wrong rather quickly, though, as fast bowler Reece Topley struck repeatedly.
Having gone wicketless on the opening day, Topley made amends by picking up the first three to fall on day two. He dismissed Prasanna Jayawardene, Suraj Randiv and Sangakkara to reduce Sri Lanka to 336 for 7. Maurice Chambers accounted for Thisara Perera, and when Topley bowled Ajantha Mendis to pick up his fourth wicket, the Sri Lankans declared on 337 for 9.
The visitors then reduced Essex to 24 for 3 in quick time, Farveez Maharoof and Perera doing the damage. Westley and ten Doeschate were entrusted with the repair job and they produced a 195-run partnership at brisk pace. Westley was on 99 when he edged Dilhara Fernando to the wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal. There was no such mishap for ten Doeschate. He reached his century and built on it substantially, leading Essex towards a first-innings lead. He had scored 164 off 174 balls, with 24 fours and a six, when Randiv bowled him.
And then it was the turn of Essex's lower order to fold. Chambers, Topley and Tom Craddock were Randiv's hat-trick victims as the innings crumbled to 328 for 9. Tim Phillips' unbeaten 37 helped secure a 14-run lead before Ajantha Mendis ended the innings on 351.
Topley wasn't done though. He capped a good day by taking his fifth wicket of the match, getting first-innings centurion Lahiru Thirimanne to edge behind. Sri Lanka ended on 7 for 1 at stumps, trailing by seven runs.