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Cricket: Cook keeps Essex on top against Kent

PUBLISHED: 19:53 29 May 2019 | UPDATED: 19:53 29 May 2019

Alastair Cook adds to the Essex total during Essex CCC vs Kent CCC, Specsavers County Championship Division 1 Cricket at The Cloudfm County Ground on 29th May 2019

Alastair Cook adds to the Essex total during Essex CCC vs Kent CCC, Specsavers County Championship Division 1 Cricket at The Cloudfm County Ground on 29th May 2019

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Sir Alastair Cook fell 10 runs short of recording back-to-back centuries for the first time in a match in his first-class career as Essex compiled a healthy lead in their Specsavers County Championship fixture with Kent.

Nick Browne in batting action for Essex during Essex CCC vs Kent CCC, Specsavers County Championship Division 1 Cricket at The Cloudfm County Ground on 29th May 2019Nick Browne in batting action for Essex during Essex CCC vs Kent CCC, Specsavers County Championship Division 1 Cricket at The Cloudfm County Ground on 29th May 2019

England Test great Cook had scored a gritty 125 in the first innings and appeared on course to reach the milestone in the second innings having compiled 90 runs before he departed.

It was the fourth time in his career that Cook had scored a century and been dismissed in the 90s, having never collected two hundreds in the same match.

Despite falling short of three figures, Cook helped Essex scored 181-6, to boast a lead of 312, before rain truncated the day's play at tea.

Kent had been bowled out for 182 to bring down the curtain on day two, with a first innings deficit of 131 runs.

Nick Browne (L) and Alastair Cook of Essex during Essex CCC vs Kent CCC, Specsavers County Championship Division 1 Cricket at The Cloudfm County Ground on 29th May 2019Nick Browne (L) and Alastair Cook of Essex during Essex CCC vs Kent CCC, Specsavers County Championship Division 1 Cricket at The Cloudfm County Ground on 29th May 2019

Cook and Nick Browne aimed to pile on the runs and bat Kent out of the game and set about in a watchful manner.

Browne was given a life on eight when Matt Milnes put down a relatively simple chance at point off Harry Podmore and it proved costly as the openers put on 55 for the first wicket.

Darren Stevens broke the partnership in the 23rd over when Browne was leg before.

At the other end, Cook dug in with characteristic diligence, with his trademark cut often being brought out of the locker.

Daniel Lawrence in batting action for Essex during Essex CCC vs Kent CCC, Specsavers County Championship Division 1 Cricket at The Cloudfm County Ground on 29th May 2019Daniel Lawrence in batting action for Essex during Essex CCC vs Kent CCC, Specsavers County Championship Division 1 Cricket at The Cloudfm County Ground on 29th May 2019

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Although there was an uncharacteristic shot produced in the morning session when he swivelled on one leg and cracked Milnes from outside off-stump through midwicket for the second of six boundaries.

It was a rare moment of aggression from Cook, who cruised along at his own pace on his 100th first-class match for Essex. He reached his 109th red ball half-century in 98 balls.

Tom Westley had looked confident for 20, but failed to go on to reach a milestone score as he was lbw to Milnes.

Ryan ten Doeschate hits 6 runs for Essex during Essex CCC vs Kent CCC, Specsavers County Championship Division 1 Cricket at The Cloudfm County Ground on 29th May 2019Ryan ten Doeschate hits 6 runs for Essex during Essex CCC vs Kent CCC, Specsavers County Championship Division 1 Cricket at The Cloudfm County Ground on 29th May 2019

Dan Lawrence beautifully stroked a straight drive down the ground but his wicket sparked an Essex collapse.

Fast bowler Harry Podmore had Lawrence caught by Zak Crawley at second slip, after the ball had jumped up at the batsman, before the bowler and fielder combination united again the very next delivery; Ravi Bopara stunningly snaffled at third slip.

The hat-trick ball was delayed for nearly 25 minutes mid-afternoon session when the umpires took the players off as persistent rain became heavy.

Podmore's next delivery upon the resumption pitched innocuously well wide of Cook's off stump. When Podmore did put the ball within Cook's range, the ball twice sped past point to the boundary.

Alastair Cook (L) and Ryan ten Doeschate of Essex during Essex CCC vs Kent CCC, Specsavers County Championship Division 1 Cricket at The Cloudfm County Ground on 29th May 2019Alastair Cook (L) and Ryan ten Doeschate of Essex during Essex CCC vs Kent CCC, Specsavers County Championship Division 1 Cricket at The Cloudfm County Ground on 29th May 2019

Only 39 runs were added before Ryan ten Doeschate was leg before for the sixth time in 12 innings this season.

Cook had been dismissed in the 90s just 11 times during his first-class career but made it 12 when he edged Wiaan Mulder to Sean Dickson at first slip, following a 160-ball 90.

A second race interruption, during which tea was taken, ended the day's play, with 37 overs lost from play.

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