ESSEX and Dan Lawrence thwarted Lancashire's attempts to get their County Championship season off to a winning start by battling to a draw at Chelmsford.

Lawrence batted through the final day for an unbeaten 141 as the home side closed on 317-6 chasing a nominal target of 478 to win.

The Red Rose struggled for a breakthrough on a flat final day wicket and stand-in skipper James Anderson admitted it had been hard going.

He said: “The first couple of days there was a bit in the pitch but it just got dried out and slower and slower as the game went on so it was pretty difficult today to try and winkle out eight wickets.

"It’s frustrating but all credit to Essex, I thought they played brilliantly (on the final day). We bowled as well as we could to try to win the game but couldn’t quite get over the line.”

Anderson misses Lancashire’s next match against Surrey at Old Trafford, but was happy his shoulder stood up to the test in the opener.

He said: “It’s all good. I’m happy the amount I’ve bowled – I’ve got through a lot of overs and the ball came out nicely. I was a bit rusty in parts but the speed felt good so I’m happy. I’ll be back for the Somerset game.”

As for leading the team in the absence of the injured Steven Croft, Anderson added: “Did I enjoy it? Not really, no. If we’d have won the game I’d have said yes. Of course I love doing it but it’s difficult when you’re trying to bowl a side out on a flat wicket. You’re always thinking if you can do something different.

“I was asking for advice all the time from the senior players in our team. But I’m not sure I’m cut out for it because I feel knackered now bowling and trying to captain as well – it’s pretty tough!”