Nottinghamshire had to endure a tough return to red-ball action when they were dismissed for only 187 on the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Essex at Chelmsford.

Joe Clarke and Ben Slater provided the bulk of the runs, sharing in a third-wicket partnership of 80, before both were removed in quick succession.

Clarke top-scored with 48 and Slater made 45 but either side of that stand the visitors were constantly under pressure, particularly from Jamie Porter, who took four for 75.

In the closing 21 overs of the day the Essex opening batsmen advanced their reply to 68 without loss.

Under clear blue skies, Notts opted to bat first after winning the toss and announced a side that included a first-class debut for the county for former Leicestershire all-rounder Zak Chappell.

The opening hour of the day featured 45 runs but also saw two wickets go down in the process, with Ben Duckett and Chris Nash departing early.

Duckett was given out lbw to Porter for seven and Nash clipped to midwicket for 26, having just gone past 12,000 career runs.

The former Sussex batsman hit five boundaries – four of them in one over from Porter – and two threes - before being taken by Jack Plom, on the field as a sub.

Former Notts bowler Peter Siddle settled into a consistent rhythm during a six over burst that yielded only six runs.

At the other end Simon Harmer began with four consecutive maidens.

Slater hit his first boundary from the 69th ball he’d faced and stroked another as he and Clarke advanced the board to 76 for two at lunch.

The pair had extended their partnership into the 43rd over by the time that Essex struck again, with the returning Porter removing the left-hander to a catch at the wicket.

From a position of strength at 118 for two the remainder of the afternoon saw the visitors slide to 155 for seven.

Clarke was bowled by Porter, who also added Tom Moores caught at point for 10.

Samit Patel (3) was caught behind off Siddle and Steven Mullaney (6) drove Sam Cook to point.

After tea Luke Fletcher and Stuart Broad added 28 together before the last three wickets fell for the addition of only four more runs.

Fletcher hit the only six of the innings, launching Simon Harmer out of the ground to move to 24.

Attempting a repeat, the next heave was slightly mistimed and picked out Sam Cook at deep midwicket.

Broad finished unbeaten on 11 but his last two partners – Chappell and Matt Carter – couldn’t keep him company for long.

Notts used five bowlers as they searched for a breakthrough but Alastair Cook and Nick Browne doggedly defied an accurate opening burst before accelerating past 50 in the closing moments of the day.


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