Alastair Cook scores 84 as Essex draw with Hampshire
Hampshire 351-7d drew with Essex 300-6d Alastair Cook began his summer with a composed unbeaten half century to allay worries over his form but missed out on three-figures as Essex drew with Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl, writes Alex Smith.
Opening batsman Cook appeared in complete comfort against Hampshire’s bowling attack, which boasts international quality in Kyle Abbott, Fidel Edwards and Brad Wheal, during his score of 84.
Cook, who averages 77 in the Specsavers County Championship since the beginning of the 2016 season, has had his place in the England Test side questioned having only passed 50 once in seven matches in Australia and New Zealand.
But the 33-year-old batted himself into form with a typically stylish innings – reaching his half-century in 80-balls – before Chris Wood dismissed him caught behind.
Beanie hat wearing Peter Siddle found Rilee Rossouw’s edge off the fourth ball of the morning, which flew to a wide second slip, two balls after snapping the South African’s bat.
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Lewis McManus tickled Sam Cook behind to James Foster, before Abbott turned chief architect for the hosts’ quick-fire run scoring – the South African scoring 43 runs in 35 deliveries.
He added 68 runs with Liam Dawson in just 49 balls, with Abbott smashing six off Simon Harmer straight down the ground.
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Abbott, who had earlier been dropped on 36, was eventually caught and bowled by Cook as Hampshire declared.
Essex’s opening stand was worth 54 when Nick Browne, on 26, was caught by Jimmy Adams at second slip off Brad Wheal.
That sparked a mini-collapse as Essex lost three wickets in 11 balls, Tom Westley and Dan Lawrence also departing.
Ravi Bopara joined Cook and the former England teammates added 87 for the fourth wicket, before the latter was dismissed. Ryan ten Doeschate scored 24 before he was adjudged leg before to Edwards but Bopara continued to keep the runs flowing.
He ended up with 84 as Essex reached 300 to score an additional point before the captains shock hands.