Dan Lawrence and Tom Westley power Essex to victory against Warwickshire

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By Webdesk

Essex 391 for 7 (Lawrence 152, Westley 114) vs Warwickshire

Tom Westley and Dan Lawrence, England past and present, combined for an imperious double century stand that put Essex firmly in control of the LV= Insurance County Championship match against Warwickshire.

Lawrence, who is allowed to play by England on the condition that he is prepared to drop down to Lord’s if necessary, when he will be replaced in the Essex line-up by nominated substitute Nick Browne, gave full range to his shots in an impeccable 152 , his second century of the season.

The third wicket pair put down 227 in 59 overs of elegant stroke play until Westley dragged Ed Barnard to the short midwicket. His 193-ball 114 brought his season total to 739, by far the most of any player in Division One.

Matt Critchley upped the pace with 47 off 43 balls in a 70-run stand with Lawrence, who finally left after five and a half hours, 225 balls and 15 fours, a second casualty to Warwickshire mercenary Dom Bess. By the end, Essex had amassed 391 for seven

Westley had won the toss on a green-tinted Chelmsford wicket previously used for a one-day international between Bangladesh and Ireland, sending Warwickshire to a sweaty day under floppy sun hats in the field.

The captain found himself at the wicket at the end of the first over after Feroze Khushi – who replaced Browne at the top of the ranks – dabbed a ball from Chris Rushworth and fired from behind.

Lawrence joined Westley five overs later to revive Essex from 20 for two after Alastair Cook was tucked in by Hassan Ali and also fell behind.

Warwickshire had lost spinner Danny Briggs as he limped out of the Blast last week with a hamstring injury and acted swiftly by signing Bess on loan from Yorkshire.

Westley took a liking to the one-time England spinner, cracking two fours through the covers before bouncing over the wicket and beating him over midwicket for another boundary. Bess toiled in the sun and finished the first day of his Warwickshire spell with figures of 32-1-143-2.

Westley passed fifty for the sixth time in the championship this season when he hit his 72nd ball to mid-on for a single. It was slightly faster – by two balls – than Lawrence’s third score over fifty this year.

The partnership was worth 99 at lunch and immediately clicked through to three figures off 150 balls. At tea a further 128 runs were added in 34 overs.

In between, Lawrence showed what Essex will be missing when he moves to Surrey at the end of the season. There was a glorious off-drive to the fence from Hassan Ali and then an effortless straight drive from the Pakistani bowler.

Warwickshire had also brought in 30-year-old wrist spinner Jake Lintott at the expense of Olly Hannon-Dalby for only his second first-class appearance. Westley liked him too. Indeed, his 17th limit, driven by the covers, took him from 154 balls to his century.

Lawrence’s ton also came off 154 balls as he shot Will Rhodes through midwicket for his 11th four.

After Westley’s four-hour stay ended on the first ball after tea, Critchley took up the bats and chastised Barnard for his insolence in removing the captain with three boundaries in an over.

A six straight back over Bess’s head by Critchley brought up the fifty partnership in just 10 overs. But the ball after tipping Lintott over midwicket for a second maximum, he presented the spinner with his first red-ball wicket by chopping a skyer back. He later added Simon Harmer, who was behind it, to return figures of 2 for 56

In between, Bess took a debut wicket when he chipped Paul Walter to short halfway through, but was then swept reverse for the four to complete Lawrence’s 150. However, Bess claimed Lawrence’s scalp when he knocked a catch off his legs.

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