Lyndon James, Steven Mullaney, and Joe Clarke all hit half-centuries as Nottinghamshire repelled Essex on day one of the LV= Insurance County Championship encounter in Chelmsford.

Mullaney and James’ stand of 117, covering the entire afternoon session, was the highlight of the first day, as Nottinghamshire recovered  from 48 for three to close on 248 for six.

James was the first of the trio to reach the milestone, followed moments later by his skipper, before Clarke rounded out the day with his fifty late on, ending unbeaten on 57* alongside Liam Patterson-White on 17*.

With Mullaney having won the toss and electing to bat first on a bright day in Chelmsford, Notts made a swift start, with two Bens, Slater and Compton, striking a flurry of early boundaries.

However, three quick wickets fell when Compton and Ben Duckett were both dismissed by Peter Siddle, caught behind and trapped in front respectively, and Slater was adjudged leg before off the bowling of Shane Snater.

Clarke looked resolute in his defence before he was forced from the field with a blow to the forearm, requiring a resolute display from the middle order.

They got exactly that from James and Mullaney, who negotiated the rest of the morning and the early part of the afternoon with a stand of 28 from 135 deliveries.

The duo then eased off the brakes as the afternoon wore on, and their fifty stand arrived an hour after the restart, before the partnership came to be worth three figures shortly before tea.

There was time before the second break for both to reach their respective individual fifties, with both hitting Sam Cook into the leg side to bring up their milestones.

Clarke’s earlier injury turned out to be less serious than feared, and, following an assessment, he was able to make a return following Mullaney and James’ dismissals, both caught in the slips.

He was determined to make up for lost time, and played his usual stylish game, striking ten boundaries on his way to becoming the third Green and Gold batsman to reach fifty in the day.

Patterson-White provided valuable late support, after Tom Moores was bowled by Cook as he and Clarke saw out the day with an unbroken stand of 58.