Browne hits unbeaten double century for Essex

·3-min read
Memorable knock - Nick Browne celebrates his double century Picture: TGS PHOTOS
Memorable knock - Nick Browne celebrates his double century Picture: TGS PHOTOS

NICK Browne tenaciously scored the fourth LV= Insurance County Championship double century of his career as Essex afflicted 505 on Somerset.

Opening batter Browne has a belligerent and unflustered temperament which gives him the ability to go big once he gets in. His mammoth unbeaten 234 showcased the best of these traits.

Tom Lammonby collected three for 35 for his personal best figures and Peter Siddle claimed his 700th first-class wicket in a testing five-and-a-bit sessions for the visitors.

In reply, Simon Harmer pinched his 45th wicket of the season as Somerset reached 99 for one at quite a tempo, ending the day 406 runs in arrears.

Browne batted and batted and batted some more, 10 hours and 38 minutes to be precise from 11am on Monday to the time Tom Westley finally pulled his side in on Tuesday afternoon.

Not much changed in his approach through his vigil, very rarely altering from his tried and tested late-play methods, only slowly accelerating through his innings. His first 50 came in 124 balls, his second 104, then 95 and 94 deliveries to move to 200.

Somerset’s inroads were as equally hard to come by as on the first day, but the decision to throw the ball to Lammonby in the 114th over was inspired. The left-arm pace bowler had six wickets ahead of the game, but within four overs had added two more scalps.

Paul Walter’s 172 partnership with Browne ended first when he lost his off stump for 86 before Matt Critchley followed when he couldn’t resist prodding behind.

Adam Rossington arrived, pumped 32 off 40 balls, added 72 with the unmovable Browne and slog-swept to deep midwicket, giving Lammonby his third.

Simon Harmer didn’t continue the acceleration, sitting on seven off 49 balls at one point in the afternoon where the scoreboard felt like it had frozen – a period where 15 overs passed without a boundary.

Meanwhile, Browne had taken himself past 200 in 417 balls. He had previously celebrated double centuries against Middlesex and twice versus Derbyshire. By way of reference, Alastair Cook has never reached the milestone for Essex, although the legendary Graham Gooch managed it 10 times.

Incredibly Browne eventually faced 454 balls, which was four more than Sam Northeast dealt with in his incredible 410 for Glamorgan against Leicestershire last week.

Harmer did pick up his pace against the Somerset spinners, thrice swiping them to the midwicket boundary, before slogging to long off to depart. Shane Snater and Aaron Beard both showed attacking intent and both fell to maximum attempts before the declaration came.

Other than a dropped catch behind in the first over, Somerset openers Matt Renshaw and Lammonby tottered around nicely to score 40 in the first nine overs before Harmer arrived on the scene from his favourite River End.

Where Leach had gone wicketless in 39 overs, Harmer needed only four balls to bowl Lammonby. The off-spinner had laid a seed of panic with his first delivery which sharply turned but the fourth was fuller and Lammonby fatally went back and chopped onto his stumps.

It turned out to be a false dawn for the hosts, Renshaw and Tom Abell continued the quick scoring with a 59-run stand in the 27 evening overs.