Jaik Mickleburgh (90) impressed with the bat for Essex but England managed to take wickets at regular intervals as Joe Root (4-57) helped reduce the hosts to 231-9 at the close of play.
Read below to find how events unfolded on day two.
10.30amGood morning everyone. Essex impressed with the ball yesterday but intelligent batting from Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan has allowed England to wrestle back some of the control at the County Ground. Alastair Cook's side will be bowling at some point today, so there's plenty of chance for the bowlers to impress.
10.33amBresnan and Swann embarrassed their teammates slightly with the way they accumulated their runs yesterday evening. On a flat pitch, not one top order batsman passed 50 for England but that was also due to some good bowling from Essex. Tom Craddock impressed with his leg-spin and Tymal Mills will have won many supporters with his pace.
10.37amThe second new ball is only 10 overs old, so there could still be something in it for the bowlers this morning. Cook will be delighted with Swann and Bresnan's contribution as there's sure to be a time when the lower order batsmen need to deliver in the Ashes.
10.43amThere's obviously three wickets left to take for Essex but the focus will be on England's bowlers today. Stuart Broad and James Anderson have both been rested and are sure to play in the first Test next week. It looks like it's a contest between Steven Finn and Bresnan for the final bowling spot, which means their performances here could be vital.
10.49amBefore the bowling contest begins, Swann and Bresnan will both be thinking about reaching three figures. It's still a good pitch, so Essex will be wary about how they'll bowl early this morning.
10.53amIt's another busy day at the County Ground. Essex have confirmed that it will be close to a sell-out and the good weather should certainly make it an enjoyable day for the spectators.
10.58amThe players are heading out to the middle now. Bresnan begins the day on 55 and Swann starts on 62. It will be Sajid Mahmood to bowl the first over of the day.
ENG 335-7Mahmood begins with a full delivery, which Swann flicks to fine-leg for a single. Bresnan adds another run behind square on the leg-side. Swann drives at a wider delivery and enjoys some luck when the ball beats Mark Pettini at gully and races away for four. One more single makes it seven from the over. We're going to see Mills now.
ENG 341-7Mills begins with two dot balls but offers Swann some width in the middle of the over and he drills the ball through the off-side for four. The bowler responds well to the boundary but he can't prevent Swann adding two more to deep cover.
ENG 346-7Mahmood is too short early in a new over, meaning Bresnan is able to pull through square-leg for a single. Swann nudges another run into the leg-side before Bresnan pulls one to deep mid-wicket. Two more runs are added from the final ball of the over.
ENG 351-7Bresnan is quick to take advantage of a slightly too full delivery from Mills as he drives four runs through extra cover. Mills straightens his line enough to force Bresnan to defend. A single is nudged off the hip from the final ball of the over. Confident start from the England duo this morning.
ENG 351-7The umpires aren't happy with the ball and have decided to replace it after only 14 overs of it being used.
ENG 354-7England won't be too happy to see the replacement ball moving away from the bat early in Mahmood's over. The bowler oversteps the mark midway through the over and Bresnan takes a single off the no-ball. Swann pulls to deep mid-wicket for one. Just three from a much better over from Mahmood.
ENG 354-7Bopara places a fielder at short extra cover for Swann. However, Mills bluffs the batsman and fires in a shorter ball that strikes the wrist at just under 90mph. There's a bit of concern as Swann steps away and removes his gloves. The physio comes on and there's a few concerned faces in the middle.
ENG 356-7It looked like Swann might consider retiring at one point. There's some swelling on the arm but he decides he's fine to continue. Mills greets Swann with another well-directed short ball. Impressive bowling. A no-ball is followed by an uncomfortable pulled single to fine-leg from Swann. Mills fires in another bouncer and strikes Bresnan in the helmet. Brilliant, aggressive fast bowling from the young left-arm seamer.
ENG 356-7The physio is back to check Bresnan is fine now as the effects of the bouncers from Mills begin to show. Bresnan's helmet is replaced. It's impressive fast bowling on a flat pitch in Chelmsford.
ENG 363-7It's no surprise to see Mahmood following Mills by bowling the short ball. Swann is more comfortable against the slower pace though as he guides a no-ball over Foakes for four runs. A chip into the off-side drops short of the fielder at cover and earns Swann another run. Bresnan ends the over by clipping a single into the leg-side.
ENG 366-7Bresnan gets off strike early in a new over from Mills. Swann is once again met by a couple of short balls from the bowler but he does well to dodge the threat this time. Two more singles come later in the over.
ENG 371-7Mahmood delivers a half-tracker at the beginning of the over and Bresnan helps himself to four behind square on the leg-side. A second pull shot is mistimed but the batsman still finds a single to deep square-leg. Mahmood is lucky to see a full-toss hit straight to the fielder at short mid-wicket. Swann and Bresnan battling well this morning.
ENG 376-7An impressive spell from Mills comes to an end as Bopara brings himself on for a bowl. The medium pacer starts well but a straight delivery is whipped through mid-wicket for four by Bresnan in the middle of the over. A single is then taken on the leg-side. Five from Bopara's first over of the day.
ENG 387-7The rest doesn't last long for Mills as he switches ends to replace Mahmood. Bresnan displays good balance at the crease to guide the ball through mid-wicket for another boundary. Mills surprises the batsman with a good bouncer but Bresnan still manages to find a single to fine-leg. Swann takes a big risk when he pulls the ball into the air but it lands safely and beats the fielder to reach the rope. Another run is added through point. Bresnan nudges one more to move to 83. Swann is currently on 90.
ENG 394-7Bopara is slightly too full and just a bit too wide, so Bresnan drives the bowler through the covers for four. A back-foot punch brings a single to deep point. Swann beats the fielder at short mid-wicket to pick up a run. One more run from the over. Time for a drinks break.
ENG 394-7There's been a few uncomfortable moments for the England duo but both are on course for a century today. Cook will be happy with what he's seen so far. Essex are desperate for a breakthrough.
ENG 395-7Bopara places three fielders in the deep on the leg-side to encourage Mills to persist with the short bowling. The bowler beats Bresnan's bat just outside off-stump with a slightly fuller ball midway through the over. A single is then taken to deep point. That's the only blemish on the over as Swann leaves the remaining deliveries.
ENG 397-7There's a bit of surprise as Bopara turns to Tom Westley ahead of Craddock. Bresnan cuts the spinner for a single at the start of the over. Swann sits back in his crease to punch a run down the ground. Westley invites the drive outside off-stump but Bresnan can't beat the fielder at cover.
ENG 399-7Craddock does come into the attack. Swann sweeps but misses the ball as the spinner beats the bat with some good flight. Two runs are taken to deep square-leg a ball later.
ENG 399-8WICKET! SWANN (94) C BOPARA B CRADDOCK
ENG 399-8Swann misses out on his first century in over 10 years. The temptation to take on Craddock is just too great but Swann doesn't make great contact with his shot down the ground and Bopara takes a good catch at the second time of asking at mid-on. Craddock now has four wickets.
ENG 399-9WICKET! FINN (0) LBW B CRADDOCK
ENG 399-9Craddock does get five! The leg-spinner gets the ball to go straight on and hit Finn's front pad. It looks a great shout and the umpire quickly raises his finger to send Finn back inside after just one ball. Fantastic effort from the young bowler, who's on a hat-trick.
ENG 399-9Graham Onions blocks his first ball to deny Craddock a hat-trick and survives the over. Brilliant from the spinner. Bresnan needs nine more for a century.
ENG 413-9England pass 400 when Bresnan drills Westley through extra cover for four. Bresnan goes for the big shot over mid-wicket but it drops just short of the boundary before running to the rope. He moves to 99 with that shot and reaches his CENTURY in style with a huge six over mid-wicket.
ENG 413-9ENGLAND DECLARE ON 413-9: Bresnan walks off after reaching 105. The supporters applaud England's highest scorer for a very impressive innings. Could that knock come under consideration for the Ashes? England declare and we'll now get a chance to see what they can do with the ball.
12.30pmSwann will be disappointed he couldn't reach three figures but he was in good form alongside Bresnan in that big partnership. Both players did well to survive that fierce spell from Mills.
12.33pmCook leads his side back out. The England bowlers are going through their warm-ups now. Just 25 minutes left until lunch.
12.37pmJaik Mickleburgh opens the batting with Westley for Essex. Finn will bowl the first over of the innings. Tricky spell for Essex before lunch, so they'll be happy to reach the interval without losing a wicket.
ESS 4-0Finn is slightly too wide early in his over and when he over-adjusts his line, Westley is able to find four to fine-leg. Just the boundary from the first over. Onions will share the new ball with Finn.
ESS 8-0Onions immediately finds a good line to Mickleburgh, who defends well early in the over. A fuller delivery is punched straight past the bowler for four runs. Mickleburgh just manages to keep out a good response from the bowler when he gets a thick edge on a straight delivery.
ESS 8-1WICKET! WESTLEY (4) C PRIOR B FINN
ESS 8-1Much better start to the over from Finn and he's rewarded when a hint of movement forces an edge from Westley. Prior takes a simple catch and England make the early breakthrough.
ESS 8-1Hamish Rutherford is the new batsman for Essex. Finn shortens his length slightly but New Zealand Test player defends easily.
ESS 11-1Mickleburgh clips a single into the leg-side and Rutherford adds another run to mid-wicket. Onions is then tucked behind square for one by Mickleburgh. The bowler nips one away off the seam to beat Rutherford's bat at the end of the over.
ESS 15-1Good shot from Mickleburgh as he steers a full delivery from Finn past point for four. Finn pulls his length back to force Mickleburgh onto the back foot. The batsman flirts with a ball down the leg-side but wisely pulls his bat away. Just the boundary from the over.
ESS 20-1Onions offers Rutherford a fraction of width and the batsman is too good a player not to earn four through cover. The Durham bowler respond with a couple of good deliveries, the latter missing the off-stump by a couple of inches. A single is then taken to fine-leg and Mickleburgh survives the final ball of the session..
1.04pmLUNCH: England will be happy with that short spell before the interval. Finn made the breakthrough when he removed Westley for just four. However, Essex will be confident that two of their better players can make big scores on this pitch.
1.05pmWe'll take a quick break from our coverage during lunch. Join me again in around 35 minutes for the afternoon session.
1.38pmWelcome back guys. I return with a bit of worrying news for England fans. Graeme Swann is off to hospital to have an x-ray on his arm. If you missed it earlier, Swann was struck on the arm by Tymal Mills on his way to 94. He didn't join his teammates on the field before lunch either. I'll bring you further news as soon as I find out more. England will be desperate for the spinner to be fit for the first Test.
1.41pmBoth sides are back out in the middle now. Finn will continue his spell. Rutherford 6* Mickleburgh 10*
ESS 24-1Finn settles on a nice line to the left-handed Rutherford early in the over. A wider delivery invites a slightly loose shot from the batsman but the ball races past gully and to the rope for four. Decent start for Finn after lunch.
ESS 29-1Onions is pushed into the off-side by Mickleburgh for a single. Big stroke of luck for Rutherford, who is dropped by Pietersen at short mid-on following a poorly timed shot. Pietersen had to dive to his left but he definitely should have taken the catch. Onions then surprises Rutherford with a well-directed bouncer. The bowler ruins a good over with a freebie outside off-stump, with Rutherford cashing in to earn four.
ESS 30-1Finn is bowling with good rhythm now as he begin his fifth over. A couple of deliveries outside off-stump are followed by one that nips back to hit Mickleburgh's pad. There's a huge appeal for lbw but the umpire decides it was probably too high and shakes his head. Just a single to square-leg from the over.
ESS 31-1Mickleburgh is eager to play straight when facing Onions, who fields well off his own bowling. A slightly shorter ball is flicked off the hip for a single. Rutherford miscues a drive and picks out the fielder at cover. Bresnan fields impressively to prevent a run from being taken to mid-off at the end of the over. Good bowling from Onions.
ESS 43-1Superb from Mickleburgh as he rocks back to hammer Finn through the off-side for four. Finn responds by bowling fuller but he's met by an even better shot from Mickleburgh, who earns four past mid-off. The Middlesex bowler finds much better length to force the batsman into leaving just outside off-stump. However, Mickleburgh manages to make it 12 from the over when flicks the final ball through fine-leg for another boundary.
ESS 53-1Bresnan comes into the attack for the first time to replace Onions. Rutherford nudges the ball into the leg-side and survives a very optimistic run-out appeal as he hurries two. The batsman then attempts to avoid a bouncer but is struck by the ball, which races away for four leg-byes. Rutherford stands tall to drive the final delivery of the over through extra cover for four brilliant runs.
ESS 53-1Finn knows he cannot afford to give Mickleburgh any width outside off-stump. The Essex opener shows good technique as Finn tries to burst through the defence with some straight deliveries. Good maiden over from Finn.
ESS 59-1Rutherford pushes Bresnan through the covers for a couple of runs early in a new over. The bowler doesn't learn his lesson as he bowls even wider to allow the Kiwi to smash four runs through the off-side. Bresnan comes round the wicket late in the over and finds a much better line to the left-handed batsman.
ESS 65-1Mickleburgh nudges the ball off the hip and gets the ball to run away fine to reach the rope. A single hands the strike to Rutherford, who picks out Cook at mid-off with a well-time drive. Rutherford does pick the gap in front of point at the end of the over to earn a single and keep the strike.
ESS 65-2WICKET! RUTHERFORD (27) C PIETERSEN B BRESNAN
ESS 65-2Bresnan is having a very good day at the County Ground. Rutherford completely mistimes a drive and picks out Pietersen, who makes up for his earlier drop by taking the catch at mid-off. That's a shame because Rutherford had looked in good form.
ESS 69-2Shah, who has played six Tests for England, comes to the crease to replace Rutherford. Trott is placed at short mid-off for the new batsman and Shah is close to picking out the fielder but instead earns four.
ESS 71-2Finn continues with the ball, finding a good length to Mickleburgh outside off-stump. A straighter ball is clipped into the leg-side for two runs later in the over. Finn appeals for lbw when he strikes the pad but it's clear the ball would have missed leg-stump.
ESS 71-2Bresnan is keen for Shah to drive and the batsman is happy to take on the challenge. However, he can't beat the bowler with a firm shot. There's fielders in close on either side of the wicket but Shah defends well to survive the over.
ESS 73-2Onions returns as Cook continues to rotate his seamers. Joe Root could be asked to bowl soon with Swann currently at the hospital. There's a big lbw appeal from Onions but Mickleburgh is struck just outside off-stump and that's a good decision from the umpire. Mickleburgh pulls a shorter ball through square-leg for two runs. Onions is doing just enough in the air to make life uncomfortable but the batsman once again displays a good defence.
ESS 76-2Bresnan persists with a straight line to Shah, who just manages to beat Trott at short mid-off to earn three runs. Mickleburgh flirts with a ball just outside off-stump but manages to avoid edging to Prior. There's a big lbw appeal at the end of the over but England are denied once again. Time for a drinks break.
ESS 76-2Essex have looked confident despite those two wickets. Cook is managing his seamers well but he may need some help from his part-time bowlers soon.
ESS 78-2Shah is beaten by some extra bounce from Onions at the start of a new over. A single is taken midway through the over. Mickleburgh gets forward well to defend against Onions, who is typically accurate with his line and length. Mickleburgh prods the last ball of the over into the off-side for a quick single at the end of the over.
ESS 83-2Bresnan fires in a short ball but Mickleburgh has enough time to pull over mid-wicket for four. Cook keeps Trott at short mid-off but Bresnan gets his line slightly wrong as Mickleburgh nudges a single through square-leg. It looks like Root will get his first bowl of the innings.
ESS 84-2Mickleburgh nudges a single away early in Root's over.
ESS 84-3WICKET! SHAH (8) C PRIOR B ROOT
ESS 84-3Root's introduction does the trick as the slower bowler removes Shah. The batsman is surprised by some bounce when attempting a cut and he can only spoon the ball into the air, with Prior taking the easiest of catches.
ESS 84-3Bopara comes to the crease for what could be an important innings if he is to continue to strive to make an impact at Test level. He blocks the remaining deliveries in Root's over. Good start for the part-time spinner.
ESS 84-3Bresnan is doing his best to get the ball to come back in towards Mickleburgh's pads. However, a loose delivery offers the batsman some width but he can't take advantage as Bairstow stops the ball well at point. Maiden over from Bairstow.
ESS 88-3England appeal for lbw and a catch as Trott collects the ball off the pad at slip. Neither are considered by the umpire as he shakes his head. Bopara gets off the mark with a single. Mickleburgh skips down the pitch to guide a full-toss through the covers for three runs. Just four from the over as Mickleburgh moves to 44.
ESS 91-3Onions comes back into the attack for a new spell. Mickleburgh is pushed back and brought forward by Onions in the over. A push through the off-side brings the batsman two. Mickleburgh then flicks the ball into a vacant area on the leg-side for another run to keep the strike.
ESS 92-3Mickleburgh sweeps to fine-leg for a single. Bopara is happy to see a thick inside edge drop short of Bell at short-leg. The Essex skipper leaves the ball well before being beaten by some extra bounce when attempting a big shot over mid-wicket.
ESS 96-3Mickleburgh defends against Onions before opening the face to guide four runs through third-man to reach 50. That's just his third half-century this season, so this innings has come at an important time. Just the boundary from the over.
ESS 102-3Root loses his accuracy early in a new over and Bopara punishes the bowler by cutting the ball through the off-side for four. The skipper adds another two runs later in the over. Root straightens his line slightly to force Bopara to defend but it's still six from six balls.
ESS 105-3Onions delivers a half-volley which is drive through extra cover for three by Mickleburgh. Brilliant response from the bowler as he catches the outside edge with a beautiful delivery but Prior can't keep hold of the one-handed catch. That's the second time a catch has been put down off Onions. The Durham ace is clearly disappointed, as is Prior.
ESS 112-3Mickleburgh skips down the pitch and earns two with a lofted shot over mid-on. The batsman continues to use his feet against Root as he nudges a single to mid-wicket. Bopara gets to the pitch of the ball well to drive Root through cover for four but misses out with an attempted cut from the final ball of the over.
ESS 112-3Swann is back from the hospital. There's no official word from the England camp yet but he doesn't look too troubled as he watches Onions begin a new spell.
ESS 112-3Onions has lost his line slightly and his body language doesn't look great following those two dropped catches. Mickleburgh can't get any bat on a couple of leg-side deliveries as Onions completes an nonthreatening maiden over.
ESS 118-3Bopara is certainly being tested by Root outside off-stump. An optimistic lbw appeal is quickly rejected. Bopara guides the ball past Trott at slip to collect four to third-man. A nudge to long-on brings a single before Mickleburgh adds another to keep the strike.
ESS 120-3Onions comes slightly wider on the crease at the beginning of a new over. The flat pitch means the bowler isn't getting too much help off the turf as Mickleburgh turns a straighter ball onto the leg-side for a couple. Essex looking comfortable at the moment. It's Pietersen's turn to have a bowl.
ESS 121-3Pietersen is trying to have some words with his friend Bopara early in the over. Bopara ignores the jokes and cuts the ball to point, where Bairstow stops a single. Some extra bounce beats the bat and Prior as Essex collect a bye. Mickleburgh blocks the remainder of the over and it's time for a break.
ESS 121-3TEA: England have missed Swann's threat but they've contained Essex well. Mickleburgh has looked in good form on his way to 65 and Bopara is starting to show signs that he is settled at the crease.
3.45pmIn the bowl out between England's seamers, both Finn and Bresnan have taken a wicket but Onions has been left frustrated by two dropped chances.
3.48pmEngland have confirmed that Swann is awaiting results of a scan he had earlier today on his arm. Andy Flower and Cook will be desperate for some good news.
3.55pmThere's also a bit of news from Australia's camp ahead of the Ashes. It's been confirmed that Shane Watson and Chris Rogers will open the batting against England, beginning with the first Test at Trent Bridge next week.
3.59pmThe umpires are back out in the middle following the tea break and they're followed by both teams. Play will go on until 6.30pm this evening.
4.01pmBopara begins the final session on 12, with Mickleburgh looking good on 65. Finn returns to the attack for a new spell. 37 overs left in the day but I'd be surprised if we fit all of those in today.
ESS 121-4WICKET! BOPARA (12) C PRIOR B FINN
ESS 121-4Superb from Finn as he gets one to straighten and catch Bopara's outside edge. Prior makes no mistake this time as he takes the low catch. Brilliant delivery just four balls into the session from Finn.
ESS 121-4Pettini is the new batsman for Essex. Finn gets the ball to come back at Pettini but the former captain does well to leave the delivery just outside off-stump. Wicket maiden for Finn.
ESS 122-4It's Pietersen who continues his spell from before the tea break. He's slightly too full early in the over but when he does shorten his length, Mickleburgh sits back in his crease to nudge a single into the leg-side. Pettini is deceived by some turn and he's fortunate not to edge the ball to slip.
ESS 127-4Mickleburgh gets off strike by flicking the ball of his pad for a single. Pettini is forced back by a couple of shorter deliveries. A hint of reverse swing doesn't help Finn as Pettini clips the ball off his toes for four.
ESS 129-4Pettini looks a bit nervous when attempting to deal with Pietersen's bounce outside off-stump. The part-time spinner struggles to settle on a consistent length in the over as Essex help themselves to two singles.
ESS 131-4Pettini gets off strike early in Finn's new over. Pietersen has a few words with the bowler between deliveries. I'm not sure if Finn takes much notice, to be honest. Mickleburgh is cramped for room at the crease when a couple of shorter balls are delivered. A drive brings a single to make it two from the over.
ESS 144-4Pietersen is punished for a poor short ball as Mickleburgh pulls four through mid-wicket. A fuller delivery is then driven through the covers for four more by a batsman who looks in superb touch at the moment. Mickleburgh makes it three boundaries from the first three balls of the over when he pulls for another boundary. Cook fumbles the ball at short mid-wicket and Mickleburgh adds another run. 13 from a poor over. That could be the end of Pietersen's spell.
ESS 144-4Mickleburgh plays a rare loose shot as Finn beats the inside edge just outside off-stump. Finn makes life uncomfortable again as he catches a thick edge, which squirms into the off-side. The bowler beats the bat again with a delivery that nips away off the surface. Very good maiden over from Finn.
ESS 148-4Root returns to the attack to replace Pietersen. Pettini looks comfortable against the spin as he drives through the off-side for four runs. Root can't tempt the batsman into cutting a wider delivery. Pettini looking much more comfortable now.
ESS 156-4Mickleburgh is surprised by some extra pace from Finn but he still manages to find a single to fine-leg. Pettini adds another run as Essex reach 150. Mickleburgh defends well on the back foot before taking advantage of a wider delivery to cut four through third-man. Two more runs are taken to fine-leg. Eight from the over.
ESS 156-4Much better from Root as he consistently hits a good length close to the off-stump. Pettini is forced to defend throughout the maiden over.
ESS 157-4Bresnan is back into the attack to replace Finn. The Yorkshire ace is predictably accurate with his line as he forces Mickleburgh to play throughout the over. A punch past mid-off brings just a single for the batsman.
ESS 157-4England have confirmed that Swann has not suffered a fracture to his arm and they believe that he will be able to bowl at some point during this match. However, the bruising means he probably won't field today.
ESS 157-5WICKET! MICKLEBURGH (90) C BELL B ROOT
ESS 157-5Mickleburgh misses out on a century when Bell takes a catch off Root's bowling at short-leg. The batsman looks perplexed as to why he's been given out but he has to depart.
ESS 157-5Ben Foakes is the new batsman for Essex. He defends the final ball of the over. I've just seen a reply of the Mickleburgh dismissal and it looks like he was a bit unlucky there. No sign of an edge involved.
ESS 164-5Bresnan is too wide early in the over and Pettini takes advantage to earn four behind point. A second cut shot brings three runs just in front of square on the off-side. Sloppy over from Bresnan, who must bowl straight to Pettini.
ESS 165-5Pettini pushes Root through cover for a single. Foakes sits deep in his crease to block against the slower bowler. The wicketkeeper-batsman shows good balance at the crease but there's no runs on offer.
ESS 170-5Bresnan is given some instructions by Cook at the start of the over but the bowler is disappointingly wide and Pettini cuts for four runs. Pettini then shuffles across the crease to nudge a single into the leg-side. Foakes can't pick the gap in the field and remains on zero.
ESS 172-5Root continues his impressive spell with a good line to Pettini, who blocks the first five balls before flicking a single to fine-leg. Cook will be happy to see Root performing solidly in the absence of Swann.
ESS 173-5Much better from Bresnan, who finally bowls to the field set by Cook by delivering the ball straighter. Foakes finally gets off the mark with a single behind square on the leg-side. Time for a drinks break.
ESS 173-5The next wicket could be crucial for England. If they break this partnership soon, they'll be confident of bowling Essex out this evening.
ESS 175-5Foakes sits deep in his crease to clip the ball into a gap on the off-side for a run. Root delivers a couple of full-tosses, with the latter being punched down the ground for a single. Essex not enjoying the freedom they may have expected against Root.
ESS 180-5Pettini gets of strike early in Bresnan's over with a single. The bowler settles on a nice line to Foakes, who blocks a couple of dot balls. Foakes reaches the rope for the first time with a flick off the toes for four runs. Bresnan hasn't been at his best since tea.
ESS 184-5Onions comes back into the attack as Root is given his rest. There's little help from the ball at this stage for the seamer. Pettini picks up a single early in the over. Foakes nudges a couple of runs into the leg-side. There's one more single in the over for Foakes, who will keep the strike for the next over.
ESS 188-5Root's break doesn't last long as he switches ends to come back into the attack. A good start to the over is ruined when Root drops his length to allow Foakes to cut through the off-side for four. Root currently has figures of 2-38 from his 13 overs.
ESS 190-5Onions is an old fashioned wicket-to-wicket bowler, which is definitely a good skill to have on a flat pitch like this one. Pettini has been there a while and is looking very composed at the crease. Two runs are taken later in the over by Pettini, who moves to 31.
ESS 192-5Root's main weapon is his control, rather than his ability to spin. Foakes comes forward to defend before pushing the ball through the covers for a couple of runs. Plenty of the supporters left inside the ground but we've hit a bit of a quiet period in the innings.
ESS 192-5Onions decides it's time to go full and straight to Pettini, who picks out the fielders down the ground.
ESS 192-6WICKET! PETTINI (31) B ONIONS
ESS 192-6Finally, Onions gets the wicket he deserves. The Durham ace beats Pettini for pace and sneaks through the defence to hit the stumps. Pettini will be disappointed after making a start but he'll know he's been beaten by a good delivery.
ESS 192-6Mahmood is the new batsman for Essex and he sits back to defend his first two balls.
ESS 197-6Root is giving the ball some good flight in a new over but Foakes is confident enough to sit back to block the spinner. A wider delivery is steered through point for a single. Mahmood will only bat one way and he displays his attacking instincts with a lofted shot for four down the ground. Five from Root's over.
ESS 197-6Onions abandons his lbw appeal when he realises his delivery to Foakes would have missed leg-stump. The Durham seamer sticks with a straight line but Foakes easily defends a maiden.
ESS 204-6A thick edge from Mahmood races through third-man and despite a mix-up, Essex are able to hurry three runs to bring up 200. Foakes reaches the boundary in the middle of the over with a flick through mid-wicket.
ESS 204-7WICKET! FOAKES (20) C&B ROOT
ESS 204-7Fantastic cricket from Root as he takes a brilliant one-handed return catch when Foakes punches the ball straight back down the pitch. The part-time spinner now has three wickets. David Masters in next.
ESS 204-7Masters survives the end of the over. Root has certainly proved that he can provide an extra option when England need a bowler during the Ashes.
ESS 213-7Onions is slightly too wide and Mahmood drills the ball through the off-side for four. A thick inside edge just misses the stumps a couple of balls later but Mahmood only earns a single due to some good work from Bresnan at fine-leg. Masters gets off the mark with four through third-man from a thick edge.
ESS 215-7Bairstow is close to taking a superb catch at cover when Mahmood lofts the ball into the air. Another miscued shot slices into the air on the off-side and Mahmood collects a run. Master prods the ball wide of Bell at short-leg to get off strike. Mahmood looking uncomfortable against the slower bowler but he survives.
ESS 220-7Onions finds a hint of movement to beat Masters on the outside edge. The batsman dodges a shorter ball before nudging a single into the leg-side. Not much foot movement from Mahmood but it doesn't matter as he crunches a shot through the covers for four.
ESS 221-7Cook turns to Finn for a new spell as he looks to wrap up the essex innings. There's some signs of reverse swing early in the over but Masters gets forward well to defend. A big appeal for lbw comes later in the over but the umpire is correct in thinking the ball was going past leg-stump. Finn fires in a shorter ball but Masters manages to pull a single behind square on the leg-side. Mahmood is completely beaten by a beauty from Finn and is fortunate to see the ball miss his stumps.
ESS 222-7Root goes straight to Masters before delivering a wider one in an attempt to encourage a wild shot from the batsman. A thick edge runs through third-man for a single.
ESS 222-8WICKET! MAHMOOD (17) C BAIRSTOW B ROOT
ESS 222-8Mahmood clearly fancied his chances against the slower bowler but he skies his shot into the air and Bairstow steadies himself at cover to take the catch. Root has four wickets for the first time in his career.
ESS 222-8Craddock is the new batsman and he's on strike for the start of Finn's new over. Essex's number 10 dodges a couple of short deliveries but is struck on the helmet when he misjudges a third bouncer. Maiden over from Finn.
ESS 223-8Root gives the ball plenty of flight to Masters, who seems to be enjoying frustrating the spinner. A flick into the leg-side brings a quick single. Craddock gets forward well to block out the remainder of the over.
ESS 230-8Good shot from Masters for two through covers. Awful from Pietersen at gully as he puts down a routine catch when Masters drives outside off-stump. One of the easier chances he'll get this summer but he can't hold on. Masters beats Pietersen later in the over to earn four through third-man. A clip through square-leg earns the batsman a single. Seven from the over. Two overs left in the day.
ESS 231-8Masters once again displays a good defensive technique against Root as he blocks five balls before flicking a single to fine-leg. One more over left, it will be Finn.
ESS 231-8Huge appeal for lbw from Finn but he's denied another wicket.
ESS 231-9WICKET! MASTERS (17) LBW B FINN
ESS 231-9CLOSE OF PLAY: Finn doesn't have to wait for long as he strikes Masters on the pad again and the umpire is happy to raise the finger this time. Good day for Finn ahead of the Ashes next week. That's it for the day from Chelmsford.
6.28pmCraddock will join Mills in the middle tomorrow morning, with both players on zero. England need just one more wicket and they'll be back batting again.
6.29pmIt's been a good day for Finn and Bresnan, for different reason. Bresnan reminded Flower and Cook of his batting ability with that hundred earlier in the day but it was Finn who impressed with the ball.
6.30pmThanks for joining me today but make sure you return to Sports Mole at 10.30am tomorrow for the penultimate day of this game.