Half-centuries for Cook and Browne on day one at Chelmsford

Brian Jeeves

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

Essex 303/9 (96.0 over)

Middlesex (yet to bat)

Essex won the toss and elected to bat

Openers Alastair Cook and Nick Browne hit half-centuries on day one of Essex’s LV= Insurance County Championship Division One encounter with old adversaries Middlesex at Chelmsford.

There was plenty at stake for both sides with Essex in pursuit of Surrey at the summit, while Middlesex found themselves in a desperate battle to avoid relegation.

Browne scored 59 off 108 balls during a 132-minute stint at the crease. Meanwhile, Cook hit 58 from 127 as the home side reached 303 for nine by the close of play.

Adam Rossington (37) and Matt Critchley (36) contributed to the home sides’ total. Josh de Caires produced a superb performance with the ball for Middlesex, returning bowling figures of eight for 106 from his 39.2 overs.

Speaking to Martin Smith from the ECB Reporters Network, Essex opener Nick Browne said: “We had a good start with myself and Cookie and then I thought we fought back quite nicely later and then at the end, that 20 runs partnership between Sam and Ports makes a big difference in the game psychologically getting to 300. So overall, I think you can say we had a good day.

  “We came into the game having won our last five games but can’t see to narrow the gap on Surrey and we keep almost losing points on them. But we can only do what we can do and try and win again here and keep the pressure on them and be hopeful that they might slip up.

  “I was very disappointed when I got out. It was a good catch but I would like to have controlled it a bit better. To get a start and get 59, it would have been nice to go on and get a hundred and really cement our place in this game.

 Browne continued: “I think that Cookie felt the same way, once we were both set, we should have gone on and got a big score. It wasn’t to be but there was also a good partnership between Matt and Rosso in the middle of the order.

  “Tom Westley also looked in good touch until he was out, he’s been in good form all year but I suppose you can’t score runs every game but it did look like a good ball that got him.

  “I thought that Josh de Caires was fantastic today to get seven wickets and to send down 30 overs is not easy and you have to be very fit to do that although we see Simon Harmer do it every week. Josh bowled brilliantly but I’m sure Harmy is licking his lips at the prospect of bowling on that pitch.”

Play resumes on Tuesday at 10:30am.

Essex: NLJ Browne, AN Cook, T Westley (Capt), DW Lawrence, MJJ Critchley, PI Walter, AM Rossington (WK), SR Harmer, UT Yadav, SJ Cook, JA Porter

Middlesex: SD Robson, MDE Holden, JB Cracknell, JLB Davies, RF Higgins, JA Simpson (WK), JM de Caires, LBK Hollman, TS Roland-Jones (Capt), ER Bamber

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk