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Westley hails Essex team-mates after Somerset win

PUBLISHED: 17:56 16 April 2017 | UPDATED: 17:56 16 April 2017

Essex's Tom Westley in batting action (pic Nigel French/PA)

Essex's Tom Westley in batting action (pic Nigel French/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

Tribute paid to Wagner and Cook

Essex batsman Tom Westley paid tribute to team-mates Neil Wagner and Alastair Cook after their eight-wicket win over Somerset at Taunton.

Westley finished unbeaten on 86 as Essex successfully chased 255 on day three of their Specsavers County Championship Division One contest, after Wagner’s six-wicket haul the previous day had set up the chance.

Cook’s century proved key as the visitors eased to their triumph and Westley said: “Neil Wagner turned the game for us with his second innings six-for and then Cookie did what Cookie does and scored a match-winning hundred.

“It’s great to have him at the other end and we get on well so it was nice to repeat the big partnerships we shared in Division Two.”

The win comes after Essex dug in for a battling draw against Lancashire in their opening match of the season at Chelmsford, when young batsman Dan Lawrence hit an unbeaten century on the final day to stave off defeat.

And Westley believes they can take a lot of heart from their first two matches this term, adding: “It’s brilliant to have registered our first win back in Division One. We took a lot of momentum from drawing with Lancashire into this game and this result confirms that we can be a force at the higher level.

“Somerset were runners-up last year and we have ended up beating them by eight wickets. We know our strength is in our batting so we were always positive about chasing down 255 and it helped that the pitch was not as helpful to the bowlers as on the first two days.”

New Somerset captain Tom Abell admitted the loss was very hard to take for the home side and felt they were below their best.

He added: “We let ourselves down with the bat and I am absolutely gutted with the result. It was a strange game that ebbed and flowed and at the start today I felt we were in a pretty good position.

“Training and pre-season had gone really well so it’s massively disappointing to lose our first match. But we cannot let it define our season and now it is all about working hard to improve in our next game against Lancashire.

“We know we are better than what we have shown against Essex. But credit where credit is due. Alastair Cook is a world-class player and Tom Westley played really well too. We found it hard to extract as much out of the pitch as we had done in the first innings.

“The wicket may have flattened out, but with an 80-run lead we should have applied ourselves better.”

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