Alastair Cook and Joe Root out ducks during extraordinary day’s cricket at Chelmsford

Joe Root, first ball duck at Chelmsford. Photo: PA

Joe Root, first ball duck at Chelmsford. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Yorkshire (50 & 161-2) lead Essex (142) by 69 runs

After an eventful day of 22 wickets, a first-baller for England captain Joe Root, a duck for former England captain Alastair Cook and five wickets for the promising Sam Cook, Yorkshire rose from the ignominy of 50 all out to lead Essex by 69 runs, writes Martin Smith.

But the fall of Root was almost a side-issue on a bizarre opening day of the Specsavers County Championship match on a largely blameless Chelmsford wicket which flattened out and offered encouragement to the batsmen in the evening.

Jonny Bairstow, who had contributed just seven at No6 first time round, ensured Yorkshire made a better fist of it in the second innings. Promoted to open, Bairstow pulled Jamie Porter for his fifth four – there was also a straight six off Cook – to take Yorkshire past their first-innings total inside 11 overs. And he then reached his own half-century from 42 balls.

But Peter Siddle, claiming his fifth of six wickets in the day, gave Bairstow an Ashes-style verbal send-off when the England wicketkeeper played on for exactly 50 to give Essex the breakthrough. At the close Yorkshire had reached 161 for two.

Root and Bairstow had been released by the ECB for their first outings in England this summer, just three weeks before the first Test against Pakistan at Lord’s. Their presence drew a large, sun-baked crowd of 2,600; the pair enjoyed extremes of success, though.

Yorkshire’s uncelebrated first-innings half-century extended their sequence of scores against Essex in the last nine months to 113, 150, 111, 74 and 50. It was the white-rose county’s lowest total since 1973 when Surrey dismissed them for 43 at the Oval.

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Until Bairstow’s hard-hitting hurrah late on, it appeared Essex’s two 20-year-olds, Sam Cook and Dan Lawrence, had put the champions in control. Cook claimed his third five-wicket haul in six Championship matches, and Lawrence hit a mature 77-ball 48 to help Essex towards a 92-run first-innings advantage.

The mayhem started with the ninth ball of the day and continued unabated all morning and all afternoon with Yorkshire sticking around first time for just 18.4 overs and an hour-and-a- half’s play.

Yorkshire had won the toss, packed the team with batsmen and collapsed in the face of some typically nagging, accurate seam bowling from the Essex attack.

The younger Cook began the rout when Harry Brook edged to Simon Harmer at second slip. Cook had two more wickets with just four more deliveries. Adam Lyth fell to the first ball of his second over, applying a faint tickle into James Foster’s gloves, then Root shaped to play off his legs to a ball that stayed straight and was snaffled by A.N. Cook at first slip. At that point Cook the bowler had three for three from eight balls.

Jamie Porter chipped in with the fourth wicket, his only one of the innings, when he had Cheteshwar Pujara playing down the wrong line and departing lbw.

Enter the Australian Siddle and the end was nigh. Siddle wrapped up the innings with four wickets for seven runs from his 22-ball stint. He had Jack Leaning plumb with his ninth ball, Steven Patterson caught behind chasing one outside off-stump, before Nick Browne took two catches at third slip to remove Jack Brooks and top scorer Gary Ballance, who hit 22.

In between Cook claimed his fifth wicket – and second five-wicket haul in successive appearances against Yorkshire – when Tim Bresnan was seventh out, another lbw victim.

Essex batted for five overs before lunch during which time they lost the wickets of Cook and Tom Westley. Cook lasted six balls before he flailed airily at Brooks, and Westley got an inside edge that took out his middle stump.

The day’s 13th wicket fell 10 balls after the break when Ben Coad got one to stay low to Nick Browne and castled him before the left-hander could ram his bat down.

Lawrence and an unusually watchful Ravi Bopara repaired some of the damage in a fourth-wicket stand of 46 in 14 overs. It took Essex exactly 20 overs to pass Yorkshire’s total, though Lawrence, on 32, survived an in-and-out chance to Leaning at third slip.

On his 33rd birthday, Bopara hung around for 35 balls, while scoring nine, before picking out Cheteshwar Pujara in the slips. Lawrence had played with growing fluency before falling lbw to Tim Bresnan after an innings that included seven fours.

Foster was in and out, bowled middle and most of leg via an inside edge off Bresnan, who then added Ryan ten Doeschate lbw after a breezy 18 from 27 balls. Peter Siddle hit an aggressive 13-ball 15 before he was caught at midwicket, and Simon Harmer was last out on the stroke of tea, chipping the ball to mid-on after a useful 35 from 59 balls. Jamie Porter made a brief appearance before he became Coad’s third victim at a personal cost of 27. Bresnan returned figures of three for 26, and Brooks three for 63.

Lyth played second fiddle to Bairstow in Yorkshire’s second innings, and was second out for 27 when Harmer juggled the ball three times at second slip before bringing it under control. That brought in 19-year-old Brook again to round off the day with a first career Championship fifty. It came off 47 balls and comprised seven fours and a six. He restarts in the morning on 57 not out.

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