County Championship round-up: Warwickshire struggle while Cook puts Essex in control

The defending champions struggled on the opening day, Stephen Eskinazi scores first century of the season and James Bracey puts England selectors on red alert.

Sir Alastair Cook reminded everybody that he can still score runs following a hundred on the opening day of the County Championship season.

Cook shared an impressive opening stand of 220 with fellow centurion Nick Browne to help the hosts get off to a canter against Kent in Chelmsford.

Essex - who have been the best County Championship team three of the last five seasons - made a statement of intent on day one with Browne scoring a ton first before falling for 107.

Ex-England captain, and leading Test runscorer for his country - who penned a new two-year deal in November - was out for exactly 100.

Warwickshire will be looking to pick up from where they left off last season having won the County Championship and Bob Willis Trophy.

The opening day did not go to plan for the Bears though with the Birmingham team only picking up one bowling point.

Visiting captain Rory Burns - looking to get back into the England selection - made a solid 41 on his first competitive innings since the Ashes but was overshadowed by Ryan Patel's 75 which included two maximums.

Ollie Pope continued his promising form in domestic cricket with an almost run-a-ball 40 before rain saw his innings halted with Surrey on 168 for three after Oliver Hannon-Dalby's two wickets.

A knock of 87 from James Hildreth was the only highlight for Somerset after they were skittled out for 180 at the Ageas Bowl.

Mohammad Abbas bagged two wickets for Hampshire but Keith Barker was the pock of the bowlers with figures of three for 33.

Home openers Joe Weatherley and Ian Holland proved runs were manageable on the wicket though, making a 100-run stand, with the former ending the day on 65.

James Bracey ensured Gloucestershire ended the day still at the crease on 164-8. The England prospect scored 77 runs from 159 balls, scoring nine boundaries in the process.

Division Two recap

In Division Two, Stephen Eskinazi became the first batter of the season to get to three figures in the County Championship.

The South African-born cricketer notched up 118, which included 16 fours from 216 deliveries while Joshua De Caires - son of former England skipper Michael Atherton - hit 80 at Lord's.

Derbyshire were left without emergency loan signing Ryan Sidebottom to injury after just seven balls. And it proved to be a big loss with Middlesex able to finish the day on 307-4.

Glamorgan were frustrated on day one at Sophia Gardens on a rain-hit day against Durham.

The visitors - without Ben Stokes through injury - took four wickets from a possible 47 overs. Ben Raine claimed two wickets for 23 runs but Colin Ingram's unbeaten 71 saw Glamorgan make 164 runs for four.

Stuart Broad was another big name not included on the opening day for Nottinghamshire, who restricted Sussex to 302 for six at Hove.

After openers Ali Orr and Tom Haines made half-centuries, Tom Clark picked up the baton and finished not out on 82 despite the best efforts of Liam Patterson-White on his way to three for 69 off 34 overs.

Rain contributed towards a day to forget for Azhar Ali on his Worcestershire debut against Leicestershire.

The Pakistan batter made only two before he was run out having waited until the evening session for his chance to bat.

Chris Wright's three-wicket haul inflicted further damage but Worcestershire did regroup to close on 118 for four.

Read more: IPL news - Pat Cummins achieves joint-fastest half century in just 14 balls during Mumbai Indians win

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