Specsavers County Championship Division One, Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton (day three):
Somerset 203: van der Merwe 60; Harmer 5-105, S Cook 4-26
Essex 25-0: Browne 16*
Essex (3 pts) trail Somerset (1 pt) by 178 runs

Essex are all but certain to win the 2019 County Championship after the penultimate day of their title decider against Somerset was abandoned.

With the Division One leaders only needing a draw, Somerset appear to have run out of time to get the win they need for a first-ever title.

Essex were 25-0 at stumps on Tuesday, replying to Somerset’s 203 all out.

While Wednesday saw only light rain showers at Taunton, the outfield was deemed too damp to get started.

After several inspections, umpires Rob Bailey and Alex Wharf called it off at 16:30 BST.

Unless Somerset now take 20 wickets on the final day, Essex will pick up their second County Championship trophy in three years.

Even if they do bowl Essex out quickly, they may have to bat again to set their opponents a target – taking more overs out of the game.

The weather may have the final say on Thursday anyway, with more rain forecast for the West Country.

Taunton rain