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Page last updated at 18:13 GMT, Sunday, 26 April 2009 19:13 UK

Cook shines as Windies struggle

Tour match, Chelmsford (day two):
Essex 263, 175-3 v West Indies 146

Alastair Cook pulls against the West Indiesq
Cook was imperious on anything pitched short

Alastair Cook scored his first half-century of the season as Essex wrested control of their tour match against the West Indies on day two at Chelmsford.

The England opener, returning after a finger injury, is unbeaten on 74 after helping Essex to 175-3.

The tourists, 24-1 overnight, were dismissed for 146, with Shivnarine Chanderpaul stranded on 66 not out.

Maurice Chambers (4-62) was the pick of the bowlers, with help from Mervyn Westfield (3-25) and Jahid Ahmed(2-55).

Cook has the ideal platform to register his first century of the season, the perfect fillip ahead of the first Test at Lord's on 6 May.

The left-hander seemed to show no lingering discomfort from the hairline fracture which kept him out for three weeks, although he had his bowlers - as well as some injudicious batting from the tourists - to thank for a swift return to the crease.

Cook was given a reprieve right at the start of his innings when stand-in wicketkeeper Lendl Simmons missed a sharp chance diving to his right off Nelon Pascal.

However, the 24-year-old capitalised on his good fortune, bringing up his 50 with his seventh boundary.

Cook lost opening partner Jason Gallian early on, with Varun Chopra (14) falling soon after.


A 67-run stand with Jaik Mickleburgh (23) preceded an unbroken 77-run fourth-wicket partnership with James Foster (48 not out) and the pair will resume on the final day look to extend their 292-run advantage with seven wickets in hand.

The West Indies, in complete contrast, imploded at the start of the morning session, losing two wickets without a run being scored.

Chambers sent Dale Richards and Narsingh Deonarine back to the pavilion and Ahmed accounted for Simmons, edging a wide delivery to wicketkeeper Foster.

The fourth wicket brought Chanderpaul, recently arrived in the UK after resting a groin injury in Guyana, to the crease.

But the left-hander lost Test team-mate Brendan Nash soon after, while all-rounder Dave Bernard crashed three boundaries before inside edging an attempted cover drive into the gloves of Foster for his third catch of the innings.

Westfield trapped Darren Sammy lbw to leave the West Indies struggling at 80-7.

Chanderpaul rallied with Lionel Baker, putting on 37 before he was adjudged lbw to Chambers for nine.

And Westfield wrapped up the final two wickets of the day, dismissing Andrew Richardson and Pascal in quick succession.

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see also
Cook battles through finger pain
26 Apr 09 |  West Indies
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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