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LV= County Championship: Essex take charge as Lancashire stumble

Alastair Cook: will be aiming for a century on Thursday

Tim Phillips: three wickets to wrap up Lancashire innings

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Essex fought back on the second day of their second division match against Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford.

Having gained a 49-run first-innings lead by dismissing Lancashire for 177, Essex's batsmen extended that advantage to 169 by reaching 120-2 in their second innings, with Alastair Cook 57 not out.

It was a poor day for Lancashire's batsmen, who subsided to 22-4 against the moving new ball inside 12 overs.

Karl Brown was the first to depart when he was squared up by Reece Topley and edged a catch to Cook at first slip.

Brown was soon joined in the pavilion by Luke Procter whose clip off his legs was excellently caught by short leg Jaik Mickleburgh off David Masters, before Ashwell Prince was lbw to Masters for 14 playing across the line of a straight ball.

Simon Katich and Steven Croft oversaw a brief period of reconstruction and had taken the score to 60, when Sajid Mahmood claimed his first wicket on his return to Old Trafford when he had Katich lbw to a full length delivery for 23.

Misery

Lancashire's misery in the first session was completed when Steven Croft, having made 31, was beaten for pace and bounce by Graham Napier just before lunch and edged a catch to James Foster.

White followed four overs after the resumption when he attempted to pull out of a hook off Napier but only skied the ball to Mark Pettini at cover, to leave Lancashire on 115-7.

Through much of this period Gareth Cross had been batting with the restraint and commonsense he had shown in Lancashire's previous match at Colwyn Bay and his partnership with Kyle Hogg yielded another 44 runs.

However, the introduction of slow left-armer Tim Phillips precipitated the end of the innings as the last three wickets fell to the spinner, who finished with 3-20.