Ashes 2015: Australia bowlers labour against Essex

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport at Chelmsford
Ravi Bopara (left) congratulates Tom Westley on reaching his century
Tom Westley was sent a message of congratulations by England captain Alastair Cook after his century
Tour match, Chelmsford
Australia 562: Marsh 169, Warner 94, Nevill 78
Essex 299-3: Westley 144, Bopara 86*
Essex trail Australia by 263 runs

Essex batsman Tom Westley scored a classy century as Australia's bowlers struggled on the second day of their final Ashes warm-up at Chelmsford.

Westley made 144, sharing 213 with Ravi Bopara (86 not out), as Essex closed on 299-3, 263 behind.

Mitchell Starc was erratic but improved to bowl Westley, while spinner Nathan Lyon conceded 110 runs from 19 overs.

Earlier, Australia took their overnight 440-6 to 562 all out, with Mitchell Marsh bowled by Matt Salisbury for 169.

Mitchelll Starc
Mitchelll Starc dismissed Westley for 144, but his bowling was inconsistent

If the tourists can be satisfied that most of their batsmen have spent time in the middle before the first Test against England on Wednesday, then they will be less pleased with an attack only missing Mitchell Johnson from the likely line-up in Cardiff.

Starc began with a wide and continued to struggle with line, so wayward that on five separate occasions wicketkeeper Peter Nevill could not prevent four byes.

He found his range very late in the day, coming round the wicket to uproot Westley's off stump and doing the same to nightwatchman Jamie Porter.

Like Starc, off spinner Lyon was bowling for the first time on the tour and offered no control of line or length.

Peter Siddle, unlikely to feature in the first Test, was the pick of the Australian bowlers, finding seam movement to bowl Jaik Mickleburgh for 29.

But the struggles of Australia should take nothing away from the performance of Westley, who was promoted from number three after Nick Browne suffered a finger injury taking a catch to dismiss Starc.

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The right-hander played drives on both sides of the wicket off the pace bowlers as well as sweeping and using his feet to attack Lyon, bringing up a 10th first-class hundred with a single off the spinner.

Bopara, who struggled for England in the 2009 Ashes, was happy to play a supporting role before accelerating late on.

Starc's strikes deep into the evening provided Australia with some cheer on a day that began with both he and Siddle caught in the slips off the bowling of Porter.

After dropping five catches on day one, Essex gave another reprieve to Marsh before Salisbury removed the right-hander's off stump.

Siddle was also dropped twice off Salisbury by stand-in wicketkeeper Saf Imitiaz as he and Lyon added 73 for the final wicket.

Lyon skied Ryan ten Doeschate to cover on the stroke of lunch and, after that, the day belonged to Essex.

Ashes Tests
First Test: Cardiff - 8-12 July
Second Test: Lord's - 16-20 July
Third Test: Edgbaston - 29 July-2 August
Fourth Test: Trent Bridge - 6-10 August
Fifth Test: The Oval - 20-24 August