Essex captain Tom Westley weighed anchor for two-and-three-quarter hours to deny Lancashire the LV= Insurance County Championship victory their batting fireworks looked to have set up.

Westley faced 120 balls in scoring 43 as Essex batted for two sessions to save face, and the game, after a dispiriting morning when they regularly lost balls out of The Cloud County Ground.

Lancashire had set a nominal target of 340 in 68 overs thanks to a perfect example of the Bazball ethos by scoring 184 runs in the 28-over morning session with 137 coming in the final 15 overs. The big-hitting trio of Tom Hartley (73 not out), Colin de Grandhomme (38) and Tom Bailey (25 not out) hammered nine sixes during a sustained period of carnage.

Essex did not rise to the bait, though, and turned the McCullum-Stokes blue-sky thinking on its head as they settled in with the sole intention of saving a game that had lost 103 overs because of the weather.

They had reached 128-4 from 58 overs when handshakes were exchanged on the draw at 5.52pm, both teams taking eight points.

Of greater significance in the wider scheme of things, James Anderson bowled 13 overs in bite-sized spells on the first leg of his domestic warm-up tour ahead of the Ashes.

While not as venomous as in Essex’s first innings, England’s premier seamer still had the opposition playing and missing with some regularity.

However, anything other than a draw soon became moot, but not before Sir Alastair Cook fell lbw for the second time in the match to Anderson, tucked up without scoring and just five runs on the board.

Essex crawled along to 23 from the first hour when Nick Browne was doubled up by Bailey and became another lbw victim.

Westley and Dan Lawrence saw Essex through to tea two wickets down and 29 overs used up. But four balls after the interval, Lawrence shuffled across his stumps to be undone by an inswinger from Bailey.

Westley’s vigil ended just as the final hour began when he was the fourth to go lbw to De Grandhomme after which he was left to Matt Critchley and Adam Rossington to see out time.

It had been significantly more exciting earlier. Keaton Jennings and George Bell set up the platform for the blitz to come as they took their fifth-wicket partnership to exactly 100, adding 44 in the first three quarters of an hour’s play, before both fell to Simon Harmer.

Bell had just reached his second half-century of the game by straight-driving Shane Snater, when he misjudged the next ball after sweeping Harmer for a ninth boundary, and was lbw for 56.

Jennings, having started his innings in mid-afternoon on Friday, was finally out for 96 after just shy of six hours at the crease when he had an uncharacteristic rush of blood and lofted Harmer to deep mid-on.

It proved to be the point at which Lancashire went into complete overdrive as they took advantage of a depleted Essex attack shorn of Sam Cook, off the pitch with a hamstring injury.

De Grandhomme launched three sixes from four balls he faced from Harmer.

However, when the New Zealander had reached 38 from 31 balls – having put on 56 in seven freewheeling overs with Hartley – he went for one swing too many and had two of his stumps knocked out of the ground by Doug Bracewell.

Incredibly, the tempo increased as Hartley and Bailey put on 81 runs in the eight overs during an unbroken eighth-wicket stand before the declaration at lunch. At one point the pair shared six sixes in a 20-ball spree against Porter and Snater.