|LV= County Championship Division Two, Colchester|
|Close, day three: Hampshire 246 & 83-1, Essex 285|
|Essex 5pts, Hampshire 4pts|
Ravi Bopara and Jesse Ryder's third-wicket partnership of 114 aided Essex in their finely-poised match with Hampshire on day three at Colchester.
Spinner Danny Briggs (2-46) dismissed Ryder (69), before Bopara (79) later fell lbw to James Tomlinson (2-29).
The partnership proved essential for Essex as they were bowled out for 285.
The visitors enjoyed a good start to their second innings, despite losing Jimmy Adams, and finished on 83-1, leading by 44 runs.
Opener Michael Carberry is two runs short of his half-century and he finished the day at the crease alongside Will Smith (13 not out).
Essex all-rounder Greg Smith:
"We didn't really bowl very well and it's going to be hard work to bowl them out, although it is turning a bit.
"We need to take a good few wickets early in the first session, otherwise it's probably going to be a dull draw."
Hampshire wicketkeeper Adam Wheater:
"I think the first session could be vital for either side.
"Our guys stuck to their guns well and the way that Michael Carberry played when we had to start our second innings with almost an hour to bat was exceptional."