Sir Alastair Cook showed his thirst for racing remains after scoring a century for Essex on the opening day of the new LV=Insurance County Championship season.
Cook shared an opening stand of 220 with fellow centurion Nick Browne to help the hosts off to a gallop against Kent at Chelmsford.
After being crowned the best red ball team in the country in three of the last five years, Essex signaled their intentions on day one with Browne the first to conjure up triple figures, before he was out for 107 to become one of two scalps for Jackson Bird.
Former England captain Cook, who signed a new two-year contract in November, was taken for exactly 100 as last season’s Division Two champions finished on 272 for four against Kent.
Warwickshire are the team to beat after their County Championship and Bob Willis Trophy double last season, but they could only win a single bowling point in Edgbaston against Surrey.
Visiting captain Rory Burns had a solid 41 in his first competitive innings since the Ashes, but was eclipsed by Ryan Patel’s 75 which included two highs.
Ollie Pope continued his excellent domestic form with an almost run-a-ball 40 before the rain saw his innings broken with Surrey at 168 for three after Oliver Hannon-Dalby’s two irons.
James Hildreth’s 87 was the only highlight of Somerset after being dismissed for 180 at the Ageas Bowl.
Mohammad Abbas claimed two wickets for Hampshirebut it was Keith Barker who got the pick of the numbers with three for 33.
Home openers Joe Weatherley and Ian Holland shut down any talk of a tricky wicket with an unbeaten century, the former not finishing at 65.
The wickets have fallen Northamptonshire but England prospect James Bracey showed his class ahead Gloucestershire at 164 for eight at the close.
Bracey, who came on three and saw the visitors slump to 42 in four and 103 in seven, helped his side rebuild from an unbeaten half-century but Ben Sanderson’s four scalps firmly dominated the local team.
from Middlesex Stephen Eskinazi had the honor of being the first batter to hit triple figures in the County Championship this season.
Eskinazi hit 16 fours in his 216 118-ball innings to help his side position themselves strong at Lord’s with Joshua De Caires – the son of former England captain Michael Atherton – hitting 80.
The Sri Lankan Suranga Lakmal was the best of derbyshire bowlers but they lost the emergency loan signing Ryan Sidebottom through injury after just seven balls with Middlesex able to go 307 for four.
Only 47 overs were possible at Sophia Gardens where Glamorgan made it 164 for four thanks to Colin Ingram’s undefeated 71.
Durhammissing Ben Stokes as expected saw Ben Raine claim two for 23 on an equally contested opening day.
Stuart Broad was another notable absentee from the second tier during Nottinghamshirewhich could only restrict sussex at 302 for six in Hove.
After flyhalf Ali Orr and Tom Haines had gone half a century, Tom Clark took over and failed to finish the 82 despite Liam Patterson-White’s best efforts on his way to three for 69 from 34 overs.
The rain contributed to a day to forget for Azhar Ali on his Worcestershire debut against Leicestershire.
The Pakistani batter made just two before being exhausted after waiting for the evening session to get the chance to hit.
Chris Wright’s three-wicket carry inflicted further damage but Worcestershire regrouped to close the 118 for four.
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