ENGLAND batter Dan Lawrence defied Warwickshire despite a hamstring injury as Essex battled to avoid defeat in a gripping LV= Insurance County Championship match at Edgbaston.

Trailing by 217 on first innings, Essex closed the third day on 290 for eight – 73 ahead – with Lawrence, who batted at number seven and with a runner, having bolstered their resistance with a valiant 44 from 105 balls.

The 24-year-old’s movement was clearly restricted by the injury he sustained while chasing a ball in the field on the first day.

But his resolve, in alliance with Simon Harmer – who made 60 not out – in a seventh-wicket stand of 81 in 29 overs, kept their team alive.

On a good batting pitch, Warwickshire’s bowling was superbly led by Oliver Hannon-Dalby but they missed pace spearhead Liam Norwell, ruled out of the rest of this match by concussion after being hit on the head while batting.

A scan has revealed no serious damage for Norwell.

Essex resumed on the third morning on nought for one, under serious pressure, but applied themselves diligently to the rearguard action.

Several of their batsmen were guilty of reckless shots in the first innings, but this time they ensured that wickets had to be winkled out.

Two were claimed in the first session and three in the second.

In the morning, Tom Westley, having eked 10 runs, fell to Will Rhodes and Alastair Cook to Hannon-Dalby, both caught by wicketkeeper Michael Burgess.

Matt Critchley batted attractively after lunch until his middle-stump was uprooted by Hannon-Dalby whose figures, at that point, were three for nine.

Adam Wheater was bowled by a Henry Brookes no ball on six, but soon skied a good length delivery from the same bowler to mid off.

Lawrence’s entry with a runner showed Essex’s determination to fight every inch of the way.

He soon lost Adam Rossington who made a compact half-century before nicking an attempted cut at Danny Briggs.

That was 172 for six and Essex were still in deep trouble, but Harmer, perhaps motivated in part by his sloppy dismissal in the first innings, knuckled down assiduously alongside Lawrence.

The pair played with patience and composure until Lawrence edged concussion substitute Miles to Burgess.

Harmer and Shane Snater then added 46 in 10 overs but the latter’s punchy contribution of 21 concluded in the day’s penultimate over when he chipped Miles to mid-wicket.