Two for Dom on day one

Dom Bess was the pick of the Somerset bowlers as he claimed two wickets as Essex finished on 298 for four on the opening day of this day/night Specsavers County Championship match at Chelmsford.

He took the prized scalp of former England captain Alastair Cook who, on 96, was attempting to reach three-figures for the first time in the Specsavers County Championship for a year. He went to whip Bess through midwicket off the 165th ball he had faced, missed and was trapped lbw.

The indefatigable Bess bowled unchanged from the River End at The Cloudfm County Ground from the 20th over to the 88th, and finished the first day with figures of 35-7-74-2.

After the home side won the toss Cook put on 151 for the first wicket with Nick Browne. The partnership had been together for more than 48 overs when Cook smashed Tim Groenewald firmly back at the bowler who deflected the ball on to the wicket to catch Browne out of his ground. Browne, returning for his first game since the beginning of May after breaking a finger, had hit 11 fours in his 142-ball 66.

The Kookaburra pink ball is being road-tested in this season’s Division One day-night matches and the Somerset bowlers showed it several times to the umpires in the first session. The ball had apparently peeled and cracked, which was a characteristic in matches played last week. It was changed at lunch and again after 59 overs.

Browne was first to reach a half-century, his 10th four piercing the cover field from his 71st ball. Cook wasn’t far behind, pushing a single to mid-off, from his 72nd ball. He had hit eight fours.

Cook’s dismissal brought in Michael Pepper for his First Class debut on his 20th birthday. The wicketkeeper-batsman, who is on a summer contract with Essex, was off the mark to his sixth ball, turning Groenewald into the onside for a single.

Tom Westley had reached 21 from 46 balls when he drove Gregory uppishly to short cover where Tom Abell, the Somerset captain, took a stunning diving catch. Pepper reached 22 before he played down the wrong line and was bowled by Bess who continually asked questions of the batsman during his marathon spell.

The floodlights were switched on for the final session, though they made little difference even when the lowering sun began to cast long shadows over the ground. Ravi Bopara and Ryan ten Doeschate batted patiently and their partnership for the fifth wicket had reached 86 at stumps with Bopara 37 from 99 balls, and ten Doeschate 46 from 92.

At the end of the day Dom said: “It was a bit of a slog, especially when it was sunny. The ball wasn’t doing anything, it really wasn’t. I think there was a little period when it did do a bit, but those balls just seem to flake away. We changed the ball three or four times before 80 overs.

“It was a long spell, but that’s what I want to do. I want to be bowling as much as I can and I feel like I can take wickets. I was quite unlucky with ten Doeschate and Rav, but that’s the sport, some go to hand, some don’t. I just love bowling.”

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11/07/2022 11:00 - Southport