Essex v England: Tim Bresnan completes ton before Joe Root takes four wickets
Tim Bresnan completed a ton as England made strides towards victory over Essex on day two of their Ashes warm-up match.
Last Updated: 02/07/13 10:45pm
Having eventually declared on 413-9 following a century from Tim Bresnan, England's bowlers made significant inroads to leave their hosts struggling on 231-9 at the close of play with two days of the contest remaining.
However, as with Joe Root on Sunday, there were real concerns for Graeme Swann as he was hit on his bowling arm whilst batting, but subsequent X-rays revealed no fracture after he received a painful blow from Tymal Mills.
Indeed, the Essex paceman hit both Swann and Bresnan during a hostile opening spell, the latter taking a hefty blow to his helmet grille from the left-armer.
But it did not prevent Bresnan from going on to complete a valuable ton (105 not out) which prompted an immediate declaration from skipper Alastair Cook.
Swann got within one big blow of reaching three figures himself before scooping spinner Tom Craddock (5-69) to Ravi Bopara at mid-on. The youngster completed his five-wicket haul by trapping Steven Finn lbw first ball but was unable to seal his hat-trick when bowling at Graham Onions (0no).
With only one wicket remaining Bresnan quickened his scoring, smacking Tom Westley for two fours before blasting him over the ropes to reach his hundred and set things up for the England bowlers.
In the 20 minutes before lunch, Finn (3-56) compensated for his lack of runs with an early wicket when he had Westley caught behind with a good delivery just outside off-stump.
But, in Swann's absence, it was Root who took the opportunity to spin England into a position of strength as he finished with career-best figures of 4-57, despite the best efforts of Jaik Mickleburgh who made a defiant 90.
After Hamish Rutherford had departed for 27 off Bresnan's bowling, Root struck in his first over as Owais Shah mistimed an attempted cut to offer Matt Prior an easy running catch.
Root also chipped in with the wickets of Mickleburgh - who appeared a little unfortunate to be adjudged caught at bat-pad - Ben Foakes and Saj Mahmood.
Meanwhile, Finn took care of Bopara - dropped by Prior on seven - as he edged behind for just 12 and then also removed David Masters for 17 as England reached stumps with the upper hand.