Nick Browne struck his third first-class century of the season to move Essex into a commanding position on day three at Chelmsford. Set an imposing 462 for victory, Glamorgan saw the evening out assiduously leaving all three results a possibility with incremental weather a prospect on the final day.
The total is certainly not beyond the visitors; they have struck 500 once already this season and made over 400 on four occasions. The loss of a single wicket in the session – that of Will Bragg for 20 when Liam Dawson drew him into an aerial sweep to Ryan ten Doeschate at deep midwicket – will also reassure them as they seek a win to sustain their promotion hopes.
Resuming the morning unbeaten on 78, Essex’s opening pair of Browne and Hampshire loanee Dawson went about their task of building a mammoth lead with ease. Browne required four overs to make the eight runs needed to reach his half-century, bringing up the milestone by driving David Lloyd to the boundary.
Neither batsmen were troubled from a pitch now offering little to the pace bowlers. Where bad light and rain had interrupted the previous day’s play, early mizzle gave way to blue skies and white clouds, although still with a little chill, by close.
Dawson, quietly accompanying Browne as he took control, faced 109 balls for his 50, which contained five fours and one six. Glamorgan’s bowler’s persevered but were unable to break through, Browne making his second century in successive Championship matches, striking a six, his first in first-class cricket, to bring up his ton.
At this point, the surface began to aid the spinners, the 24-year-old eventually succumbing to Ingram for a well-crafted 129 off 209 balls, clipping behind to Mark Wallace. The 237-run partnership put on with Dawson was an Essex record, breaking the previous highest opening stand against Glamorgan of 206 made in 1991.
Browne’s departure started a mini-collapse, three wickets falling in 26 balls. Dawson was the third to go, agonisingly removed one short of his hundred when he got a leading edge that sprung back to bowler Ingram, who had seen a catch off the same man dropped four balls earlier. The South African’s incisive spell of 3-9, including Tom Westley leg-before, looked to have shortened Essex’s assault, especially when Ravi Bopara was stumped by Wallace having darted down the pitch only for Andrew Salter to react and send a wider delivery. A brisk 74-run partnership by Jesse Ryder and ten Doeschate got the hosts back on track though, with Essex declaring at 15:28 as tea was taken early.
And they could have had Glamorgan in serious trouble if Dawson had held on to a Jacques Rudolph nick, or had James Foster stumped talented youngster Aneurin Donald. The pair, brought together following Bragg’s dismissal, attacked at every opportunity, Donald hitting Westley for a huge straight six to take the county into three figures, both unbeaten in sight of half-centuries when play ended.