Browne century helps Essex frustrate Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge

Nick Browne was in fine form for Essex at Trent Bridge.
Nick Browne was in fine form for Essex at Trent Bridge.

A century from Nick Browne anchored a day of solid consolidation for Essex on the second day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

The 28-year old opener remains undefeated on 163, with his side on 345 for three, an advantage of 132 at the halfway stage of the contest.

Browne has batted for seven-and-a-half hours, showing great levels of concentration in facing 366 deliveries; 27 of which he hit to the ropes.

Essex’s third-wicket pairing of Brown and Dan Lawrence contributed 120 together and Browne and Ravi Bopara have so far added 130 together for the fourth-wicket.

Resuming from their overnight first day score of 72 for one, Essex found runs hard to come by in the early stages of the morning.

With Ravi Ashwin, on his Notts debut, racing through his overs in 90 seconds or less, the opening half an hour saw ten overs bowled, for the addition of only nine runs.

Tom Westley broke the shackles, twice caressing the Indian international through the covers but then nicked the spinner to Steven Mullaney at slip for 42, ending the second-wicket partnership on 85.

Hopes of further breakthroughs were dented by the solid defensive approach of Browne and the willingness of Lawrence to counter-attack.

Browne’s half century contained eight fours and arrived from 127 deliveries. His partner seemed determined not to let Ashwin settle and took him for three fours in a row.

The opener had two slices of fortune, before bringing up a patient hundred from 250 balls faced; his first championship century since June 2017 against Middlesex.

Firstly, a leading edge from the bowling of Ashwin almost carried to short extra cover, when the left-hander was on 77. Four runs later, the same batsman turned Jake Ball to square leg, where Joe Clarke spilled the straightforward offering.

Lawrence played with more fluency, passing a 101-ball 50 to reach 64 before losing his off stump to Luke Fletcher.

Browne’s 15th first class hundred was brought up with his seventeenth boundary; an exquisite square cut off Fletcher.

Having gone past the home side’s meagre first innings score, Essex stepped up the tempo after tea with Bopara busy and workmanlike from the moment he walked out to the middle.

The former England international brought up a classy fifty from only 85 balls, with a delightful cover drive from the bowling of Samit Patel.

With Ashwin having bowled 47 overs so far in the innings (with figures of 1-114) – and 41 in the day – the last 30 minutes descended into a go-slow as Notts made sure they didn’t send down more than the requisite allocation.

Their punishment may not be over, with Essex likely to try and bat deep into the third day.