|LV= County Championship Division Two, Chelmsford (close, day two)|
|Essex 360: Foster 98, Pettini 68; Azharullah 4-74|
|Northants 143-3: Wakely 43|
|Northants trail by 217 runs with seven first innings wickets standing|
|Essex 4 pts, Northants 2 pts|
James Foster's battling 98 helped put Essex on top against Northants on the second day at Chelmsford.
Resuming on 177-6, Foster and Mark Pettini (68) added 88 to the overnight total before South African seamer Rory Kleinveldt had Pettini caught behind.
Rob Keogh struck to remove Foster after lunch, but Aron Nijjar made a career-best 53 as Essex were all out for 360.
Skipper Alex Wakely top-scored with 43 for Northants as the visitors closed on 143-3, still trailing by 217 runs.
Essex's lower-order efforts provided the club with some positive news after it was announced that head coach Paul Grayson had left by mutual consent, with the county in sixth place in Division Two.