LV= COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP, DIVISION TWO, Chelmsford:
Close, day two: Kent 247 & 146-3, Essex 201
Essex 4pts, Kent 4pts
Captain James Foster hit an unbeaten 88 to rescue Essex on day two of their clash with Kent at Chelmsford.
The hosts began the day deep in trouble 198 behind on 49-6.
But Foster made the most of support from Matt Walker, Tim Phillips and David Masters to see his side to 201, trailing by 46.
Kent had increased their lead to 192 by the close as they reached stumps on 146-3, with Rob Key making 61 and Martin van Jaarsveld unbeaten on 43.
BBC Radio 5 live's Kevin Howells reflects on the action:
"Sixteen wickets first day - only seven on the second. The difference appears to be coping or not with the new ball on a pitch doing a bit.
"Kent's Darren Stevens did so well with it to reduce and cause havoc to the Essex first innings at 49-6. But the home side didn't apply enough pressure in that Kent second innings reply. Now the home side are looking very much second best at this stage.
"Reece Topley is again looking the part. His coach Paul Grayson says he's a sharp learner and his winter efforts to get the ball to swing and produce some tasty yorker-length balls must be a real boost to his confidence. Extra pace will come in time and there is genuine reason to be excited by the young man."
BBC Essex's Nick Gledhill gives his view:
"It took a captain's unbeaten 88 from James Foster and, finally, a Robbie Joseph no-ball to rescue Essex a solitary batting point from the wreckage of Darren Stevens spell of 5-14 on Friday evening.
Up against second division attacks Essex undoubtedly have a middle order that should score heavily. All they need to do is deliver
BBC Essex's Nick Gledhill
"Essex did well to get that one point but their first-innings struggle was a vivid reminder of many last season when a total of 29 batting points proved a major factor in the side's relegation.
"Victories without first-innings runs will again be hard to come by, especially in the absence of Danish Kaneria, and regularly passing up a haul of batting points can only work against a promotion push.
"Essex have the personnel to address this problem with a potential line-up that includes Cook, Bopara, Ten Doeschata and new recruit Owais Shah. The prospect of long international absences for Bopara and Cook will place greater reliance on the young talents of Mickleburgh and Westley.
"Up against second division attacks Essex undoubtedly have a middle order that should score heavily. All they need to do is deliver."
BBC Radio Kent's Peter Guise on day two at Chelmsford:
"Sustained progress from Kent after being unable to take Essex wickets quickly to capitalise on the good work on day one.
"Rob Key declared himself happy with the first-innings lead of 46 but was disappointed at getting out for 61 himself in Kent's second innings. Better than the two-ball duck in the first he quickly added though.
"It's a healthy lead at the close of day two, 192 ahead, but there is a lot of time left in this game and Kent will need to put the game beyond Essex by scoring heavily on day three if they are to take an early season advantage over a side that may well be battling for an instant return to Division One with them."