Cox’s ton leaves Essex in command

Brian Jeeves

Essex v Kent – LV= Insurance County Championship Division One – Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford – Day Three – Report

Essex 530/7 (dec) and 257 for four (40.0overs)

Kent 413 (135.1 overs)

Essex won the toss and elected to bat

Essex lead Kent by 374 runs with second innings wickets standing

Essex heads into the final day of their LV= Insurance County Championship Division One match with Kent in a strong position, thanks to a quickfire century from Jordan Cox against his former employers.

Cox finished the day unbeaten on 116 from 89 balls as the home side established a handsome 374-run lead. Indeed, the 23-year-old’s ton was the fifth of an extraordinary encounter dominated by the batters.

Earlier in the contest, Essex had declared their first innings on 530 for seven. Matt Critchley finished unbeaten on 151 – his highest first-class score. Meanwhile, Dean Elgar hit 120 off 176 balls during a productive knock which included eighteen boundaries. George Garrett and Matt Parkinson claimed two wickets apiece for the overwhelmed Kent attack.

However, any initial thoughts of a cakewalk for Essex were extinguished by Ben Compton’s masterful 165, coupled with 135 from skipper Daniel Bell-Drummond. Critchley claimed five for 105, while there were two-wicket hauls for Jamie Porter and Shane Snater as the visitors were dismissed for 413, 117 in arrears.

Cox took charge with the bat as Essex extended that advantage further. Speaking to Martin Smith from the ECB Reporters Network, he said: “Obviously it’s been a good day. To bowl them out today and to then score enough runs where we can have a go at them tomorrow is good and leaves us with a good scenario in the game.

“I’m obviously happy to contribute to the team and I felt that l’ve given my wicket away in the last couple of innings so to kick on today and against my old club leaves me really happy.

 “I haven’t yet really reflected on the impact of scoring a hundred against my old club but once I start watching the highlights, l’m sure I will.”

Cox added: “I think we had choices of what we were going to do in our second innings but now we are in a very good situation which is handy but we just went out there to be positive.

 “Critch came out and started smoking it and I thought to myself, I might as well bat like he’s batting, taking the game on. He took a five-for with his leg breaks and for him to do that is awesome.

  “If the rain holds off on day four, I think we’ve got a real good chance of victory and the wicket looks suited for our spinners so let’s hope, fingers crossed, the weather stays away and we get the win.”   

Play resumes on Monday at 11am.

Essex: D Elgar, FIN Khushi, T Westley (Capt), JM Cox, MJJ Critchley, PI Walter, MS Pepper (WK), SR Harmer, S Snater, AP Beard, JA Porter

Kent: BG Compton, TS Muyeye, DJ Bell-Drummond (Capt), JA Leaning, JL Denly, HZ Finch (WK), JK Denly, WA Agar, NN Gilchrist, MW Parkinson, GA Garrett

Umpires: ID Blackwell and GD Lloyd

Scorers: P Parkinson and LAR Hart

Match Referee: P Whitticase

Elsewhere in the County Championship, Somerset holds a 61-run advantage over Surrey at teh Kia Oval, with four second-innings wickets remaining. Cameron Steel took his match figures to five for 103 for the Division One champions, while Dan Lawrence had 3/45 as the host continued to hold the upper hand.

In Division Two, Middlesex leads Northamptonshire by one run at Wantage Road after reaching 553 for two in response to the home side’s 552/6 (dec).

An unbeaten 350 third wicket stand between Max Holden (211*) and Leus du Plooy (196*) steered Middlesex into calmer waters, this after Emilio Gay hit 261, while James Sales was unbeaten on 113 for Northamptonshire 

Middlesex’s 19-year-old left-hander, Nathan Fernandes took the plaudits by becoming their youngest first-class centurion on debut since 1862. 

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk