England captain Alastair Cook hits a half century as Essex dominate day one

Essex's Alastair Cook in action during day one of the Specsavers County Championship match at the Es

Essex's Alastair Cook in action during day one of the Specsavers County Championship match at the Essex County Ground, Chelmsford. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 10, 2016. See PA story CRICKET Essex. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the ECB. Still image use only. No moving images to emulate broadcast. No removing or obscuring of sponsor logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information. - Credit: PA

Alastair Cook made a patient half-century as Essex reached 335 for three to continue their fine start to the Specsavers County Championship Division Two summer by dominating the opening day against Northamptonshire at Chelmsford.

Like Cook, Nick Browne and Tom Westley – both of whom have been tipped to play international cricket this summer – were dismissed in the sixties, before Ravi Bopara reached the close 57 not out.

On a placid surface, Northants’ bowling lacked potency and Browne was quick to profit, reaching his half-century from 87 balls with a typically attractive drive. By the break Cook was into his stride too, consecutively flicking and cutting Josh Cobb for fours.

Shortly after lunch, however, Browne prodded half-forward at Ben Sanderson and was well caught by the diving Richard Levi at first slip.

Cook settled in the company of Westley, sharing a stand of 80 and bringing up his half-century from 127 balls.

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But he was drawn into an edge by Richard Gleeson and caught at the wicket for 65. Westley’s was the classiest innings of the lot, before he departed for 64.

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