Essex batsmen dig in against Warwickshire
- Credit: Nick Wood/TGS Photo
Half-centuries from Nick Browne, Paul Walter and Ryan ten Doeschate bolstered Essex against Warwickshire on a hard-fought opening day in the LV=Insurance County Championship at Edgbaston.
After choosing to bat, the champions were bowled out for 295 just before the close. They were precariously placed at 72 for three before Browne (68, 169 balls, 11 fours) and Walter (66, 151 balls, 11 fours) added 114 in 40 overs for the fourth wicket.
Both fell to England paceman Olly Stone, who bowled with well-focused aggression for four for 89. Olly Hannon-Dalby took four wickets with the second new ball to end with four for 73 but Ten Doeschate's aggressive 56 (62 balls, eight fours, one six) assured a solid total.
Warwickshire replied with seven without loss in four overs before the close.
On a good pitch in unbroken sunshine, Essex were given a brisk start by Sir Alastair Cook, who arrived in Birmingham averaging 58 in first class cricket at Edgbaston. He moved fluently to 46 (47 balls, eight fours, one six) out of 55 before falling to Craig Miles.
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Recalled in place of the injured Dom Sibley, Miles struck with his seventh ball which Cook edged to wicketkeeper Michael Burgess. He then inflicted further damage with his 20th ball which jagged back to trap Tom Westley lbw. When Dan Lawrence chipped Stone to mid-wicket, Essex had lost three wickets for 17 runs.
Essex went into lunch on 81 for three and enjoyed a reprieve right at the start of the afternoon when Browne, on 20, edged Miles but Sam Hain grassed the chance at second slip. Browne took advantage to advance to a 136-ball half-century.
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Browne and Walter batted through the afternoon session but both departed soon after tea in a hostile Stone spell. The former edged behind and the latter skied to fine leg where Hanuma Vihari took the catch.
Ten Doeschate and Adam Wheater (23, 45 balls, three fours, one six) added 47 before wickets fell in each of the first two overs with the new ball. Wheater edged Stone to Burgess, then Simon Harmer was lbw to Hannon-Dalby.
That was the first of four wickets in 25 balls for Hannon-Dalby who hit Peter Siddle's off-stump and had Sam Cook and Ten Doeschate taken by Hain in the cordon.