Tom Westley and Jaik Mickleburgh put Essex in control at Leicestershire
07:49 02 August 2012
County Championship Division 2 Day 1: Essex 161-0 against Leicestershire (yet to bat)
Essex reached the close of a rain-affected opening day in the LV= County Championship match with Leicestershire at Chelmsford on 161 without loss from 57 overs.
Tom Westley and Jaik Mickleburgh put together the county’s first opening century partnership of the season after the home side had won the toss.
And although play started on time, rain soon interrupted proceedings and only 8.3 overs and 18 runs were possible before tea.
However the two batsmen continued in fine form after the resumption as they rarely experienced an anxious moment.
Both batsmen were swift to punish the loose delivery and penetrated the field with some well-executed drives on both sides of the wicket and the occasional square cut.
The tempo was set early on as both took boundaries off Nathan Buck on a pitch that lacked pace.
Mickleburgh, appearing in only his third championship match of the season, was first to his half-century reaching that landmark with an on-driven six at the expense of left-arm spinner Claude Henderson.
It also included eight fours and arrived from 58 balls.
In the bowler’s next over, Westley swept the ball to the square leg boundary ropes to take the total into three figures, and soon after collected a single that took his own contribution to fifty.
At that stage, he had faced 126 deliveries and struck half-a-dozen boundaries but he was a little fortunate immediately afterwards when an attempted pull fell just short of diving wicket-keeper Paul Dixey.
By the close, Mickleburgh had reached 81 with the help of three further fours, while Westley will resume in the morning on 75 having so far gathered eight fours.
The latter once again showed his liking for the Leicestershire attack having recorded 81 - his highest Championship score of the season thus far - when the teams met earlier in the campaign at Grace Road.
Leicestershire have so far used six bowlers in their unsuccessful attempts to initiate a breakthrough and the signs are that they will face plenty of hard work to make significant inroads.
During the course of the day, 39 overs were lost to the weather, making a total of 1,576 overs that Essex have been deprived of in the County Championship so far this season.
Including the Friends Life t20 and Clydesdale Bank 40 competitions, they have lost 1,814 overs, while 12 days have been completely washed out.
In all games, nearly 20 days have fallen foul to adverse weather.