|County Championship Group One, The Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford (day four):|
|Essex 490-9 dec: Westley 213, Wheater 87 & 28-1: A Cook 12; Leach 1-14|
|Worcestershire 475: Libby 180*, Barnard 128; S Cook 4-100|
|Essex (13 pts) drew with Worcestershire (12 pts)|
Essex and Worcestershire played out an inevitable draw in their County Championship opener as bat continued to dominate ball at Chelmsford.
Worcestershire were eventually dismissed for 475 in their marathon first innings just before tea, 15 runs behind Essex’s 490-9 declared.
Jake Libby finished unbeaten on 180 from 496 balls as he carried his bat.
Dillon Pennington (56) also scored a maiden first-class half-century as Essex made 28-1 before an early close.
Both sides shook hands on a draw after 10 overs of the hosts’ second innings. Alastair Cook was the only wicket to fall as Joe Leach beat his defences to bowl the former England captain for just 12.
Worcestershire had earlier pushed on from their overnight 350-6 as Ed Barnard (128) and Libby put on 244 for the seventh wicket, 12 runs shy of an all-time county record.
Libby ran out of partners in his bid to make a new career-best score as he was left four runs short of matching his 184 against Glamorgan in the Bob Willis Trophy last August.
By the time he came off the field, he had batted for just under 11 and a half hours.
The result ended Essex’s run of consecutive four-day wins at Chelmsford stretching back to 2018 as they came away with 13 points and Worcestershire 12.
Essex will host Durham at Chelmsford on Thursday while Worcestershire will be away against Derbyshire.