Search

Imperious Cook helps Essex build against Somerset

PUBLISHED: 21:14 25 June 2018

Alastair Cook in batting action for Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Alastair Cook in batting action for Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Alastair Cook rediscovered the sort of imperious form that had eluded him this season, but fell four runs short of the 63rd first-class century of his career on the first day of Essex's day-night match with Somerset at Chelmsford.

Nick Browne hits four runs for Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Nick Browne hits four runs for Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

The former England captain, on 96, looked to be attempting to reach three figures for the first time in the Specsavers County Championship for a year with one shot. He went to whip Dom Bess through midwicket off the 165th ball he had faced, missed and was trapped lbw.

The indefatigable Bess bowled unchanged from the River End at The Cloudfm County Ground from the 20th over to the 88th, and finished the first day with figures of 35-7-74-2. Essex ended a swelteringly hot day on 298-4 from 98 overs.

Cook had appeared unflappable in taking his season’s Championship total to 409 runs at an average just over 51. He hit 15 fours, driving in the ‘v’ between mid-on and mid-off and dismissing anything short with a firm pull.

He put on 151 for the first wicket with Nick Browne – by 40 runs the largest stand for any Essex wicket in the Championship this season, and 93 better than anything by any combination of openers.

Blues skies over the Cloudfm County Ground (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Blues skies over the Cloudfm County Ground (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

It revived memories of Essex’s inaugural day-night Championship match a year ago when Cook and Browne posted a county-record 373 stand against Middlesex, and Cook scored his last four-day century for the county.

The partnership had been together for more than 48 overs when Cook smashed Tim Groenewald firmly back at the bowler who deflected the ball on to the wicket to catch Browne out of his ground.

Browne, returning for his first game since the beginning of May after breaking a finger, had hit 11 fours in his 142-ball 66.

Until that piece of fortune, Somerset’s seven-man attack had toiled in vain, with the only encouragement coming when Cook, on 57, edged Bess to slip where Lewis Gregory put him down.

Nick Browne and Alastair Cook enjoy a useful partnership for Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Nick Browne and Alastair Cook enjoy a useful partnership for Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Somerset had problems with the Kookaburra pink ball, which is being road-tested in this season’s Division One day-night matches.

They had shown it several times to the umpires in the first session. The ball had apparently peeled and cracked, which was a characteristic in matches played last week. It was changed at lunch and again after 59 overs.

Essex won the toss and had no hesitation in batting. Browne was keen to make up for lost time and showed his intent by pulling Gregory’s first ball for four.

Jamie Overton went for two boundaries in an over, one through mid-wicket and the other driven through mid-on. Cook took three successive fours to see off Gregory’s first spell from the Hayes Close End, and followed next over by pulling Josh Davey for another to bring up Essex’s fifty in 10 overs.

Dom Bess in bowling action for Somerset (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Dom Bess in bowling action for Somerset (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Browne was first to reach a half-century, his 10th four piercing the cover field from his 71st ball. Cook wasn’t far behind, pushing a single to mid-off, from his 72nd ball. He had hit eight fours.

South Woodford’s Browne had played uncharacteristically freely before lunch, but reverted to type afterwards, watchful and cautious, adding just nine nines from his final 44 balls.

Cook’s dismissal brought in Michael Pepper for his first-class debut on his 20th birthday. The wicketkeeper-batsman, who is on a summer contract with Essex, has scored a stack of runs in the 2nd XI this season. He was off the mark to his sixth ball, turning Groenewald into the onside for a single.

Tom Westley had been playing comfortably for his 21 from 46 balls when he drove Gregory uppishly to short cover where Tom Abell, the Somerset captain, took a stunning diving catch.

Tom Westley and Alastair Cook take on water on a hot afternoon (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Tom Westley and Alastair Cook take on water on a hot afternoon (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Apart from a series of short balls early on, Pepper, too, looked untroubled in reaching 22 until he played down the wrong line and was bowled by Bess.

Bess continually asked questions of the batsman during his marathon spell but Ryan ten Doeschate, back after serving a two-match ban for disciplinary issues, found an answer when he launched the young off-spinner over his head for a one-bounce boundary.

The floodlights were switched on for the final session, though they made little difference even when the lowering sun began to cast long shadows over the ground.

Bopara and ten Doeschate batted patiently and their partnership for the fifth wicket past fifty in 14 overs. It was increased to 86 at stumps with Bopara 37 from 99 balls, and ten Doeschate 46 from 92.

Latest East London Sports News

13:00

Nominations are officially open for this year's FA & McDonald's Grassroots Football Awards.

13:00

Grow the Game is back for the tenth year in a row, with £1.5million available for clubs to turn their aspirations of creating new female and disability teams into reality.

09:00

Club secretaries, managers and coaches can now organise matches and training more easily thanks to an FA initiative alongside PayPal - the free FA Matchday app.

08:41

Leyton Orient have announced that goalkeeper Sam Sargeant has extended his contract at the club until the summer of 2022.

Yesterday, 14:54

West Ham manager David Moyes insists Saturday's crunch clash with Southampton will not make or break their season.

The Hammers go into the Southampton game desperate for points

Yesterday, 13:37

The Football Association [The FA] has today launched the 'Pledge of Positivity' which asks parents and spectators involved in under-18s grassroots football to commit to creating a more positive environment at matches across the country.

Yesterday, 13:00

Matt Withers is joined by Dave Evans, Jacob Ranson and Dan Bennett for another East London Football Podcast.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Festival organisers AEG Presents will once again be providing a variety of exciting opportunities for young people at this year's event

Looking to rent in London? Securing the keys to a new home in any big city can be an ordeal but there is a way to avoid the common pitfalls of London rentals - dodgy landlords, dubious décor and downright dicey security.

Cauldron Foods' comedy night will give vegans the last laugh as Vegan comics dispel vegan myths.

Most read sport

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Most Read

Latest from the East London Advertiser