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    Snater four-for leaves Lancashire reeling
Snater four-for leaves Lancashire reeling
Shane Snater picked up a four-wicket haul. Source: Getty Images

Snater four-for leaves Lancashire reeling

Shane Snater rediscovered the form with the ball that eluded him last season as he punched a massive hole in a fragile Lancashire batting line-up on a rain-shortened day at Chelmsford.

The Zimbabwe-born Netherlands international removed the top three in the Lancashire order at a personal cost of one run before returning to add a fourth to finish with figures of 4 for 42. Snater took just eight expensive wickets in an injury-ravaged campaign last year, having taken a total of 67 in the previous two seasons. He has now taken 10 wickets in three Vitality County Championship matches this April.

He was ably supported by fellow seamer Sam Cook, who combined hostility with economy to finish with 3 for 18 from 14 overs as Lancashire limped to 146 all out. In 12 floodlit overs, Feroze Khushi struck nine fours in a blistering 33-ball 53 as Essex chased down 68 for the loss of his wicket, caught in the slips by George Balderson.

A mid-morning downpour encouraged Essex captain Tom Westley to ask Lancashire to bat on a green-tinged wicket, and local knowledge proved decisive in the 45 minutes available before lunch after Snater was introduced. The seamer removed Keaton Jennings with a superb flying catch in the gully off Matt Critchley in his first over and trapped the free-running Luke Wells lbw in the next.

Wells had plundered 13 runs - including a straight four and a six flicked off his legs - in a Jamie Porter over that saw the bowler removed after conceding 22 runs from three overs.

With the brief morning session over, the players had barely reached the pavilion for lunch when the latest April shower extended the interval by more than an hour and three-quarters. When they returned in the afternoon, Josh Bohannon faced just nine more balls without scoring before he edged to Snater and Dean Elgar took a stunning one-handed catch low down at first slip.

Cook bowled unchanged for almost two of the shortened sessions and was rewarded in his ninth over when Balderson failed to withdraw his bat in time and was caught behind.

George Bell, who hit two of his four career half-centuries at Chelmsford last season and added 99 against Hampshire last week, was hit for just 4 by Snater's first ball after tea, but his only shot from 22 balls was a magnificent straight drive, arguably the most aesthetic shot of the day.

Lancashire's slide continued when Matty Hurst hung his bat out to Cook and became the second victim for wicketkeeper Michael Pepper. Tom Bruce got a leading edge to chip Porter to mid-on before 19-year-old Noah Thain claimed a wicket on his first-class debut with the third ball of his innings when Tom Bailey steered to second slip.

The ninth-wicket partnership between Jack Blatherwick and Will Williams proved to be the biggest of the innings, however. They helped to repair the damage of 92 for 8 with some lusty hitting.

A six apiece took the pair to a 36-ball fifty before Blatherwick went for another heave off Simon Harmer's second ball of the innings and holed out to the long-leg boundary. Cook wrapped up the innings when he had Nathan Lyon held at point and Williams not out on 32.

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