A CENTURY from skipper Steven Mullaney made it advantage Nottinghamshire on day two of their County Championship match against Essex as they seek a second win in Group One.

Mullaney made 117, the 16th hundred of his career and his first since September 2019, as Nottinghamshire totalled 323, giving them a lead of 224 after bowling Essex out for 99 on Thursday.

Essex’s Zimbabwe-born Netherlands seamer Shane Snater took a career-best seven for 98 in only his sixth first-class appearance but 34-year-old Mullaney shared partnerships of 123 with all-rounder Lyndon James (51) and 66 with England fast bowler Stuart Broad (41) to put his side in control.

Essex were still 95 behind at 129 for three at the close, with opener Nick Browne unbeaten on 60.

Mullaney had a scare without adding to his overnight 63, when a difficult chance to Browne at gully off Snater went down, but thereafter rarely looked troubled. Strong through the offside, he still dealt heavily in boundaries.

The sweep off Simon Harmer that took him to a 148-ball hundred was his 18th four.

Compensation for Snater came with wickets from consecutive deliveries as James was taken one-handed low to his right by second slip Harmer, and Tom Moores edged behind, giving him his first five-wicket haul in first-class cricket.

He added two more as Luke Fletcher was trapped in front and Broad, who added a six pulled over midwicket off Snater to six fours, edged hard to first slip, where Alastair Cook took a good catch.

In between, Mullaney’s 223-minute innings was ended by a fine, full length ball from Peter Siddle that nipped back and took his off stump.

With the pitch more benign than the opening day, Essex openers Browne and Cook laid the foundations for a fightback, adding 63 for the first wicket, although Browne had a life on 18 when missed at third slip.

But Cook fell for 35, given out lbw to a ball from James that struck him on a front pad that was well forward, and Tom Westley, as in the first innings, was dismissed for just a single, failing to pull his bat away from a short ball from Broad.

Still 148 in arrears at tea, they lost a third wicket on 89 when Dan Lawrence misread the line of a ball from Dane Paterson that took his off stump, but Browne and Paul Walter batted patiently through 24 overs to the close, Browne’s second fifty in the match spanning 147 balls with five fours.