Australia in command despite second innings slide
Australia 562 & 212-8 (Clarke 77)
Essex 414 (Westley 144)
Tour match, Chelmsford, day three
Michael Clarke played a timely 77-run knock to help recover a skittish batting performance from Australia in the third innings of the tour match against Essex at Chelmsford.
Earlier today Ravi Bopara (107) resumed his innings unbeaten on 86 and went on to score a hundred before getting out to Mitchell Marsh (2-47).
The middle order and lower order failed to contribute to Essex's cause as Mitchell Starc (6-51) managed to successfully run through the remaining batting to help Australia secure a healthy 148-run lead.
Starc, was easily the pick of the bowlers taking a six-wicket haul, while Marsh contributed with the ball too, picking a couple of wickets.
Australia did not have the best of starts in the third innings as David Warner (4) failed to trouble the scorers as he departed early in fifth over.
Chris Rogers (32) failed to convert a good start as he edged it straight to wicketkeeper James Foster off Matt Salisbury (2-24).
Adam Voges (1) and Shane Watson (5) failed to spend some valuable time in the middle as they departed in successive overs putting Australia in a spot of bother at 76 for four.
Mitchell Marsh (37) joined skipper Clarke (77) for a 62-run partnership stand for the fifth wicket to steady Australian innings
Peter Nevill (12) and Starc (13) made piddling contributions with bat as Australia lingered past 200-run mark.
Essex bowlers evenly shared the load of picking wickets with Salisbury leading the pack.
Aron Nijjar (2-80), Jamie Porter (1-38), Thomas Moore (1-18), Ryan en Doeschate (1-27) and Ravi Bopara (1-19) played the supporting acts.
Australia has a healthy lead of 360 runs with two wickets in hand.
They will be looking to declare early on day four and present their mighty bowling line-up an opportunity to dismiss Essex and gain some much needed confidence ahead of the Ashes tournament which begins on 8th July.
© Cricket World 2015