County Championship: Ryan ten Doeschate and Ravi Bopara put Essex in commanding position against Somerset
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, The Cloudfm County Ground (day two):|
|Essex 517-5 dec: Ten Doeschate 173* Bopara 118, Cook 96; Bess 2-132|
|Somerset 140-2: Byrom 53*|
|Essex (4 pts) lead Somerset (1 pt) by 377 runs|
Captain Ryan ten Doeschate returned from a two-game suspension in style as he posted his highest-ever score for Essex to guide his side to a commanding position against Somerset.
Resuming on 294-4, Ten Doeschate (173 not out) and Ravi Bopara (118) put on 294 for the fifth wicket as Somerset toiled on a flat Chelmsford wicket.
Essex declared on 517-5 soon after Bopara was bowled by Peter Trego.
Somerset ended the day on 140-2 in reply, with Eddie Byrom 53 not out.
Ten Doeschate had not played in over a fortnight after being banned for repeated disciplinary breaches, but he was imperious at the crease as he brought up his century with the first of three sixes in a 244-ball innings that also saw him hit 22 fours.
Bopara's comparatively conservative innings saw him take 251 balls to make his score before being bowled by Trego as the reigning champions all-but ended any hopes of a Somerset win.
Having taken two wickets on the first day, England's newest spinner Dom Bess could not add to his tally, but his figures of 2-132 off 49 overs were the best the visitors could offer.
Somerset came out fighting in reply as Steve Davies and Byrom put on 15 in the opening three overs.
Davies passed 12,000 first-class runs before being dismissed for 41, and Byrom and George Bartlett (42) guided them to 140 before Bartlett was bowled by Sam Cook off the final ball of the day.
Essex captain Ryan ten Doeschate:
"It was a good wicket to bat on, but you still have to get the runs.
"We had a clear plan out there: we wanted to wear them down, and to accelerate towards the back end.
"I still think looking at the team-sheet that we've got the best batting line-up, but I know we haven't shown it consistently over the last two or three years."
Somerset all-rounder Peter Trego:
"I thought they might have gone on a bit longer, but fair play to Essex. They realised that it's an attritional-style game and they need a volume of overs to bowl us out.
"They could have decided to stay out there for another half-an-hour. But they gave their bowlers the chance to do a bit of damage, and got two wickets.
"We've got to be right on it tomorrow. One slip-up session in the next two could be hard work for us."