Alastair Cook and Tom Westley hit tons for Essex against Gloucestershire

Alastair Cook

Alastair Cook - Credit: Su Anderson

Alastair Cook scored his first Championship century since 2014 and shared in a record breaking stand with Tom Westley before Gloucestershire hit back in their Specsavers Division Two match at Chelmsford on Monday.

Cook made 105 and Westley 121 before rain brought an end to the day’s play 19 overs prematurely with Essex 287 for six in response to their opponents’ 262.

The pair put on 222, an Essex record for the second wicket, beating the 192 involving Paul Prichard and Jon Lewis in 1994, also at Chelmsford.

But once their partnership was broken, wickets fell steadily as the bowlers, with the help of the new ball, started to find movement under gathering clouds.

Cook and Westley added 125 before lunch after resuming on 39 for one.

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Westley was the first into three figures, it arriving from 198 balls and containing 18 fours, while Cook reached his ton from 182 deliveries.

Both were eventually dismissed by Jack Taylor. The off-spinner had only bowled one over before lunch but with his first ball of a new spell after the interval, he trapped the England captain leg before for 105.

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Then in his fifth over, he had Westley caught by Gloucestershire skipper and wicket-keeper Gareth Roderick for 121.

The new ball, taken with the score on 249 for three, brought Gloucestershire quick successes. Fast bowler Liam Norwell beat the defence of Ravi Bopara for 14, before Josh Shaw removed Ryan ten Doeschate.

Just before that, Shaw picked up his first wicket on Championship debut when Dan Lawrence top-edged a pull to Hamish Marshall.

Those three wickets fell in the space of 18 deliveries for just 10 runs but rain was to arrive before the visitors could inflict more damage.

Norwell picked up his two wickets for 64 runs in 25 overs while Shaw and Taylor also took two each, the latter claiming his two wickets at a cost of only 12 runs in nine overs.

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