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County Championship: Alastair Cook hits second hundred as Essex draw with Yorkshire

Sir Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook had never before hit a century in both innings of a first-class match
LV= County Championship Division One, Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford (day four)
Essex 403 &167-0: A Cook 102*, Browne 50*
Yorkshire 425-5: Brook 123, Malan 87, Root 75; Snater 3-62, S Cook 3-78
Essex (11 pts) drew with Yorkshire (13 pts)

Alastair Cook scored a century in both innings for the first time in his illustrious career as Essex and Yorkshire fought out a sluggish County Championship draw.

Cook, England’s leading Test run-scorer and a veteran of 19 years at first-class level, had never previously reached three figures twice in a match – but he rectified that omission on his career record with an unbeaten 102 in the dying embers of this Chelmsford stalemate.

Any outside prospect of a positive result evaporated on the final morning as Yorkshire – needing to build quickly on their overnight advantage of 22 – lost their last five wickets for 39 and were dismissed for 465.

That left Cook, who had scored 107 first time around, and opening partner Nick Browne under little pressure in their second innings and the pair eased comfortably past the deficit with an unbroken partnership of 167 before the captains agreed on a draw.

Resuming on 425-5, fast scoring appeared to be a necessity for the White Rose – but they displayed little attacking intent, garnering only three runs from the first six overs of the day.

Dawid Malan’s hopes of converting his 87 into a century disappeared when he clipped his first ball of the morning, a Shane Snater half-volley, into the hands of square leg, while Harry Brook showed none of the fluency that had already brought him a hundred.

Brook eventually fell for 123, caught behind wafting at a short delivery from Sam Cook, who was also unlucky not to claim the wicket of Harry Duke when he struck off stump and the bail refused to budge.

Cook had to be content with figures of 3-78, while Snater (3-62) finished off the innings by having Dom Bess caught behind, leaving Essex with a deficit of 62 and half an hour to negotiate before lunch.

They might have gone in a wicket down, with Jordan Thompson finding the edge of Cook’s bat in his third over but Duke, diving across in front of the slips, was unable to cling onto a difficult catch.

After that, the former England captain looked completely in command and, while Browne’s progress was more sedate, he gave only one chance en route to his 50 not out, a stumping opportunity off Adam Lyth that Duke failed to execute.

However, it was Cook who took centre stage and he brought up his 72nd first-class hundred from 178 deliveries, pulling a long hop to the fence from Joe Root, his successor as England skipper, shortly before stumps were drawn.

Essex head coach Anthony McGrath:

“The game was pretty much dead this morning. We had to do the professional thing and make sure we didn’t have a tricky hour or two and, the way Alastair and Nick Browne batted, it was a comfortable ending to the game for us.

“Even though he has got so many runs and the game is going towards a draw, with not much on it, he’s still hungry to get that hundred.

“That’s testament to his whole career and the class of the man. He’s been a great ambassador for the whole game, not just Essex and England. Hopefully we’ll see a few more before he finishes and he’s with us for a few more years yet.”

Yorkshire head coach Ottis Gibson:

“It feels like we’ve spent a lot of time and got nowhere. The game never really got going – it’s four days that I’m not going to remember much about, to be honest.

“There was one point where Harry Brook and Dawid Malan were batting that it came alive a little bit then it went flat again and petered out into a draw.

“Brook showed you can play shots and bat with intent, be positive and put bowlers under pressure. He and Malan made it look very easy.”

Report supplied by the ECB Reporters’ Network.

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