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Page last updated at 06:46 GMT, Sunday, 26 April 2009 07:46 UK

Cook battles through finger pain

Tour match, Chelmsford (day one):
Essex 263 v West Indies 24-1

Alastair Cook
Cook fell four runs short of his half century against West Indies

England's Alastair Cook made 46 on his comeback from a broken finger as Essex were bowled out for 263 by West Indies on the first day of their tour game.

The opener grimaced through the pain and wrung his hand on several occasion before edging Darren Sammy to second slip in the first over after lunch.

Varun Chopra (50), Jaik Mickleburgh (58) and James Middlebrook (46) ensured a respectable total at Chelmsford.

The tourists made 24 for the loss of opener Devon Smith before the close.

Smith made 13 before edging Middlebrook's off-spin to Mickleburgh at short leg in the final over of the day, leaving the uncapped Dale Richards unbeaten on eight.

Earlier, off-spinner Narsingh Deonarine claimed 3-32 as the West Indies bowlers continued their audition for a place in the Test side.


Sammy was named as stand-in captain, while batsman Lendl Simmons was asked to keep wicket for a makeshift-looking West Indian side still missing players on Indian Premier League duty.

After Essex won the toss, opener Jason Gallian survived a confident lbw appeal from Lionel Baker off the first ball of the innings, but edged to Sammy at third slip two deliveries later.

That brought Cook and Chopra together, and the pair added 87 for the second wicket.

Chopra hit Andrew Richardson for three fours in one over, but fell when he tried to flick the right-arm seamer down the leg side and was superbly caught by Deonarine at square leg.

Cook, clearly in pain when balls struck high or low on his bat, coped well with the short ball, pulling Richardson for six but fell four runs short of his half century.

Wicketkeeper and stand-in captain James Foster was hoping to nudge the England selectors himself, but made just 23 before edging Baker onto his stumps.

Tom Westley and Grant Flower fell cheaply, although Middlebrook's aggression - which included a six and seven fours - dominated the tail, although he eventually fell lbw to David Bernard - recently recalled by the Windies after nearly six years in the international wilderness.

James Foster walks off after edging Lionel Baker onto his stumps
Acting captain Foster edged Baker onto his stumps

However, Foster backed team-mate Cook to prove his fitness ahead of the first Test, which begins on 6 May.

"He made a steady start, and in a couple of weeks time when the Test match comes around I am sure he will be ready to go," Foster said.

"Given that he has not been able to hit many balls recently he looked in good form, which will have been encouraging.

"I am pretty sure he will not only want to bat in the second innings but also play in the Championship game. He will want to get some rhythm and timing out at the crease."

"Whenever you hit the ball at the bottom of your bat it is not ideal, especially if you are recovering from a broken finger.

"It was obvious to see that as his innings went on he got more sore but - and I am no medical expert - I am pretty sure this game will not have harmed him in any way."

Meanwhile, Windies coach John Dyson was encouraged by the performance of his under-strength side.

"What we are trying to do is make a pool of players who are ready to play when they are in form and chosen," the Australian said.

"You can't go in with a bare XI and hope they're always fit and always in form. It is good to have a few matches so the inexperienced players can get a feel for English conditions.

"You need to have some variety and players available who are perhaps chosen specifically for certain types of conditions you might encounter."

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see also
Cook to line up against Windies
24 Apr 09 |  West Indies
Windies caught up in pitch spat
22 Apr 09 |  West Indies
Simmons hits form against Leics
21 Apr 09 |  West Indies
Windies start strongly in warm-up
20 Apr 09 |  West Indies
Powell dropped for England tour
07 Apr 09 |  West Indies
England delay picking Test squad
18 Apr 09 |  England
West Indies in England 2009
04 Dec 08 |  Cricket

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