ESSEX captain Tom Westley admits their County Championship opener against Kent was 'killed after day two' after the spoils were shared at Chelmsford, writes MARTIN SMITH.

The captains shook hands at 4.50pm with Essex 68 for one after a game of 1.163 runs, five individual centuries, but only 20 wickets.

Kent had replied with 581 for nine declared to Essex's first-innings total of 514.

Westley said: “It’s not been the normal Chelmsford wicket although we had a similar wicket this time last year against Worcestershire. It’s a bit out of our control.

“It was pretty dead and the game was killed after day two with the amount of runs scored.

"But to start the campaign with 12 points is positive and the way the bowlers went and kept going – and obviously three centurions – is all positive.

“I think we have got all bases covered. I think this is one of the strongest squads that I have been a part of and when Harmy (Simon Harmer) joins us, we’ve got who I think the best spinner in the world, and a world-class performer. So that is only going to make us even stronger.”

Dan Lawrence, having quickly established himself with the bat in the England middle-order, made a case to be taken seriously as a bowler with career-best figures as Essex and Kent played out the tamest of draws at Chelmsford.

Not only did the occasional off-spinner record figures of 3-98, but Lawrence’s 24-and-a-half-over stint was more than double anything he had ever been asked to produce in an innings.

At the other end, Matt Critchley plugged away for a marathon spell of 46 overs, taking 4-114 on his Essex debut.

On Lawrence’s three-wicket haul, Westley said: “If you speak to him he’ll tell you he’s an international all-rounder now with a Test bowling average of about 30. It’s something he’s worked really hard on and he’s got attributes as a spinner.

"We’ve obviously been blessed with Harmy for a number of years, so the likes of Dan probably hasn’t got to bowl as much as he likes but he could be a very good offspinner.

"He’s picked up a three-fer today, but there are times he’s bowled a lot better than that and not got the wickets. I think if he keeps working at it, which he wants to, then there’s no reason why he can’t get as many first-class wickets as he’d like.

“He wants to bowl, which is so good. He wants to be a part of the game in every facet of the game in the field.

"He’s actually one who comes up to me, ‘Can I bowl, let me on, get me on, get spin on’. Tendo had it with him, too, and so I’m sure does Joe Root!

"But they are the sort of people you want in your team, you want people to put their hand up.”