Lancashire v Essex: Title rivals draw rain-affected game at Old Trafford

Lancashire v Essex
Lancashire were unable to reduce the 36-point gap to Division One leaders Essex
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Emirates Old Trafford (day four):
Lancashire 290: Hameed 88; Porter 5-73
Essex 202-8 dec: Chopra 40; McLaren 4-45
Lancashire (9 pts) drew with Essex (9 pts)

The match between Championship title challengers Lancashire and Essex at Old Trafford ended as a draw, with further rain affecting the game on day four.

There was little prospect of a positive result once Essex, who began 115-4, reached 141 to avoid the follow-on.

The visitors declared on 202-8 to deny Lancashire the chance of a third bowling bonus point, meaning that both teams took nine points from the match.

Essex remain 36 points clear at the top of Division One with three games left.

Both sides start the first of their remaining matches on Tuesday, with Essex facing bottom club Warwickshire and Lancashire taking on Somerset.

Essex could clinch their first Championship title since 1992 if they win at Edgbaston, but are reliant on Lancashire slipping up at Taunton.

Lancs head coach Glen Chapple told BBC Radio Lancashire:

"To get stuck in on a damp pitch, which seamed around for at least a session, and get to 290 was a really good effort.

"For Haseeb to bat so long was good in those conditions and we showed we bat all the way down with Tom Bailey and Stephen Parry making good scores.

"I don't think Essex would have been interested in chasing a target - but we just wanted to get as many points as we could. I can understand why they have declared, I have no problem with it.

"They didn't think they could get another batting point, the game was virtually over, and they weren't going to risk losing another one to us."

Essex head coach Chris Silverwood told BBC Radio Essex:

"Lancashire made us work really hard for every run we've got which you would expect with top playing second. They are a good side and it's been a tough game at times.

"The players that we are missing this week are high class players but the exciting thing for me is that we've seen another young, high-class bowler come through in Sam Cook. He showed us what he can do.

"We will have to wait and see on Alastair Cook and Tom Westley, whether they can play next week.

"The title is getting closer but one game at a time. Let's focus on the present and deal with what's in front of us really. When we get to Warwickshire let's make sure we keep doing the right things."