|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Cloudfm County Ground (day two):|
|Surrey 174: Smith 34, Foakes 34; Porter 5-62, S Cook (5-53)|
|Essex 302-6: Lawrence 147, ten Doeschate 78*; Clarke 3-52|
|Essex (6 pts) lead Surrey (1 pt) by 128 with six wickets standing|
Dan Lawrence made a timely first Championship century of the season as Essex built a first-innings lead on day two against Surrey at Chelmsford.
Jamie Porter (5-62) and Sam Cook (5-53) collected Surrey’s last six wickets for 37 runs as they were all out for 174.
But title-chasing Essex ran into trouble on 53-3 before Lawrence and Ravi Bopara (34) put on 72.
Ryan ten Doeschate (78 not out) added 173 with Lawrence, who finally fell for 147 as Essex reached 302-6, 128 ahead.
With leaders Somerset bowled out for just 142 against Hampshire and therefore able to take no more than 19 points from the game should they win it, every point is crucial for Essex, who began the match against Surrey just eight behind.
Porter and Cook wasted no time in securing all three bowling points after the latter began the day by knocking out Ben Foakes’ (34) off stump.
Jordan Clark (3-52) claimed the first three wickets when Essex began their reply, including that of Alastair Cook, who was lbw for 24.
But Lawrence grew in confidence as the ball became soft and reached three figures off 182 balls by sweeping spinner Scott Borthwick for four.
Ten Doeschate was typically assertive in the supporting role, collecting nine boundaries before Lawrence was caught at slip from a delivery by Morne Morkel that appeared to bounce a little more than he expected and Jamie Porter was lbw to Rikki Clarke for a duck in the penultimate over.
Essex already had a third batting point, though, and another two are available on the third morning if they can add a further 98 to their total in 23 overs.