Cook-inspired Essex post a statement victory at Trent Bridge

Nottinghamshire v Essex – LV= Insurance County Championship Division One – Trent Bridge – Report

Essex 253 and 374 for nine (dec)

Nottinghamshire 293 and 80

Nottinghamshire won the toss and elected to bowl

Essex won by 254 runs

Sam Cook finished with hugely impressive match figures of ten for 73 as Essex posted a statement 254-run victory over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in the opening round of LV= Insurance County Championship Division One fixtures.

Cook’s impressive haul included 6/14 on the final day as the home side were skittled inside thirty-five overs for just 80.

Earlier in the contest, Essex’s first innings had gleaned 253. South African left-hander Dean Elgar scored 80 off 156 balls during a productive 192-minute stint at the crease, which included twelve boundaries. Debutant Jordan Cox scored 84. The pair put together a third-wicket stand of 112. But with those around them falling cheaply, largely thanks to the handiwork of Dane Paterson, who returned 5/49, to keep the visitors in check. Lyndon James chipped in with 2/30, and Dillon Pennington 2/79.

Despite Cook’s efforts, including a hat-trick consisting of James, Brett Hutton and Pennington, Notts established a seemingly useful 40-run lead, with wicketkeeper/batter, Joe Clarke scoring 104, and Jack Haynes 77. Indeed, responding, Essex appeared to be in trouble at 129/5. However, Paul Walter and Matt Critchley not only steadied the ship but sailed her into calmer seas with knocks of 79 and 68 respectively, complimented further by 47 from Shane Snater and an unbeaten 39 by Adam Rossington before the declaration came with Essex holding an unassailable lead of 334. Hutton and James claimed three wickets apiece for the hosts.

Up stepped Cook, as he has so often in the past, to make short work of a fragile batting order, ably assisted by Jamie Porter, with 3/43. Indeed, only three Notts’ batters reached double figures as the Essex romped home with some to spare.

Speaking to Jon Culley from the ECB Reporters’ Network, Essex’s star performer, Cook, said: “I think we’ve made a statement as a team in the way we achieved the win. It was a game that ebbed and flowed and could have gone either way.

“The way the last day unfolded doesn’t really reflect the first three days of the game, in which the sides were pretty evenly matched. But the way we were so ruthless today says a lot about how we want to go about our cricket

“It showed the character of the team in that there were a few times in the game where we were up against it but in the last few years we have won a lot of red ball games from positions we didn’t look like doing and that is something we have prided ourselves on.

“From a personal point of view, I am pretty chuffed with the way the ball has come out this week, particularly with it being a Kookaburra, where there have been some questions about what I could do with a Kookaburra ball.

“I’m desperate to play for England and hopefully that performance is something towards that but I’m trying to concentrate on playing for Essex and enjoying taking wickets for Essex. In the past, I’ve probably been guilty of chasing it a bit too much and getting caught up in that, but in the last six months I’ve tried to go back to basics and concentrate on what I do well.”

Essex returns to LV= Insurance County Championship Division One action on Friday/Monday, April 12/15, when Kent visits the Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford (11am).

Nottinghamshire: H Hameed (Capt), BM Duckett, BT Slater, JM Clarke (WK), M Montgomery, JA Haynes, LW James, CG Harrison, BA Hutton, DY Pennington, D Paterson

Essex: D Elgar, FIN Khushi, T Westley (Capt), JM Cox, MJJ Critchley, PI Walter, AM Rossington (WK), SR Harmer, S Snater, SJ Cook, JA Porter

Umpires: SJ O’Shaughnessy and T Lungley

Scorers: R Marshall and P Parkinson

Match Referee: SJ Davis

Points: Essex 20 Notts 4

Elsewhere, in Division One, Surrey’s weather-affected match with Lancashire at the Emirates Old Trafford ended in a stalemate after the final day was washed out.

Josh Bohannon hit 84 for the home side who were dismissed for 202, with Surrey debutant, Dan Lawrence returning career-best figures of four for 91.

Only 8.3 overs of the Surrey innings were possible due to the inclement conditions, with the visitors reaching fifteen without loss.

In Division Two, there was a run-fest at the Home of Cricket. Glamorgan skipper Sam Northeast finished unbeaten on 335 – the highest first-class score recorded at Lord’s – as Glamorgan amassed 620 for three (dec). Colin Ingram was also not out having reached 132.

Responding, Middlesex scored 655 with Ryan Higgins continuing the theme with 221.

Glamorgan’s second innings had reached 31/2 when the captains shook hands on a draw shortly after 5pm.

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk