Essex ease to opening victory

Essex opened their Specsavers County Championship campaign with an easy 10-wicket victory over Division Two rivals Gloucestershire at the Essex County Ground.

They entered the final day just 59 short of their 93-run target and needed just under an hour to claim success.

Alastair Cook and Nick Browne suffered a few anxious moments before Essex completed the task.

The visitors thought they had Browne taken at slip by Chris Dent when he pushed forward against off-spinner Jack Taylor, but the batsman stood his ground and when umpires Jeff Evans and Michael Gough conferred, they deemed the ball had touched the ground first.

Browne then square drove the spinner to the boundary and then took fours in one over from paceman Tom Hampton before completing his half-century with three runs through extra-cover off the same bowler. It arrived from 66 deliveries and contained eight fours. 

Immediately afterwards, Browne received a let-off when he square drove Hampton but Ian Cockbain, diving forward from point, failed to hold onto the ball.

Cook survived when, uncharacteristically, he moved forward and had a wild swing against Taylor but that was his only indiscretion.

The England Test captain gathered runs freely by working the ball off his legs, and also found the cover boundary with a glorious stroke at the expense of Hampton.

The bowler then gave way to Kieran Noema-Barnett, who was soon pulled through midwicket by Cook before he dealt out similar punishment against Taylor.

But it was Browne who sealed victory with a straight-drive four off Noema-Barnett to finish with 55 to his name.

Cook finished 35 not out, with five boundaries, to go with his first-innings effort of 105 as Essex collected 23 points from their victory to Gloucestershire’s four.

Source: ECB

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