(Photo: Getty Images)
By Paul Hiscock
Ironically, in a match that featured no batting bonus points it was an opener who became a focal point as his thoughts turned to England.
Scores of 44 and 83 had taken left-hander Nick Browne’s tally of first-class runs for the season to 981 and on the cusp of 1,000 for the third time in as many seasons.
He has spent considerable time batting with England opener Alastair Cook and their latest international recruit Tom Westley and Browne admits he is in awe of both.
“Both are true inspirations in different ways,” he admitted. “Cooky is a model professional and to see Tom getting selected was very emotional for me because I’ve seen the amount of work he’s put in to get picked.”
Cook has opened with 12 different partners for his country and Browne admits he is ambitious enough to dream of being lucky 13.
“I like to think that my game-plan lends itself to the longer form of the game,” he said. “You never know about the demands of Test cricket until you play it so I’m not going to say that I’m the right man but I’d love the opportunity.”
Craig Overton and Championship debutant Paul van Meekeren had shared eight wickets to unhinge the home side’s first innings but then Jamie Porter led the fightback with his third five-for of the season as the Somerset batsmen, despite a battling half-century from James Hildreth, equally found batting difficult on a dry pitch in conditions assisting bowlers.
Trailing narrowly on first innings, Essex lost three wickets cheaply before a stand between Browne and Adam Wheater tipped the advantage to the hosts.
The pair added 118 before Browne was bowled shortly before rain washed out play for the third day after just 13 overs had been bowled.
Wheater went on to make 88, Ryan ten Doeschate hit 67 and by lunch on the final day, the lead was 279 runs with the hosts looking to Jamie Porter and Simon Harmer to inspire their seventh win of the season although Mohammad Amir was absent with back spasms.
Result: Essex (159 & 293) beat Somerset (164 &104) by 179 runs