Essex's Browne hails Cook after record stand against Middlesex

PUBLISHED: 12:30 29 June 2017

Nick Browne in batting action for Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Nick Browne in batting action for Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

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Openers put defending champions on back foot

Alastair Cook in batting action for Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Alastair Cook in batting action for Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Nick Browne hailed Essex team-mate Alastair Cook after their record 373-run first-wicket stand against Middlesex at Chelmsford.

Having seen the second day of their Specsavers County Championship clash with the defending Division One champions washed out on Tuesday, Browne and Cook advanced their overnight 106-0 with a stunning display to put the hosts on top.

Cook eventually fell for 193, but Browne went on to score 221 and Varun Chopra added an unbeaten 100 from just 75 balls to set up a declaration at 542-3.

Browne said: “It is lovely to do that with ‘Cookie’. It’s an amazing honour to play with him, let alone have a partnership with him like that.

“He helped me through a lot, and I’d like to think I helped him a little bit as well. It was absolutely outstanding to bat with him for such a long time.

“We didn’t know about the record. We heard at tea that the record against Middlesex had been beaten by us. We thought this one couldn’t be too far away, but when the crowd starting clapping we didn’t have a clue.

“It’s been quite a frustrating time, but I always felt there were runs around the corner for me. I’m so happy to score a hundred, but to go on and score a double is something I’ve always wanted to do. I want to score big hundreds and make sure they count towards winning the game.”

Middlesex openers Nick Gubbins and Nick Compton survived 13 overs before the close, but the visitors – dismissed for 246 in their first innings – could face a battle to avoid defeat on the final day.

Stand-in captain Dawid Malan said: “It’s just a good batting wicket and we’ve let ourselves down, first and foremost when we were probably 150 runs short of being able to put them under pressure.

“They showed that when two very good batsmen apply themselves there is no reason why you can’t bat all day.

“Our openers showed the mettle at the end there that we pride ourselves in at Middlesex. We’ve been proud of the way we show resilience and fight until the last ball is bowled.

“We’ve got ourselves out of a lot of games where we’ve been behind the eight-ball, so the fight shown by them has hopefully shown the rest of the guys in the team what can happen if you are willing to get stuck in and take a few blows. If so, we could potentially bat all day.”

As for taking the reins in the absence of James Franklin, Malan was not so sure if it had been a positive experience, although he praised his attack for their efforts.

He added: “I didn’t enjoy the captaincy that much to be honest! Nothing I did worked.

“No, all jokes aside, the main bowlers tried their socks off, and every time we thought we had an edge it fell away and landed in the gaps. All credit needs to go to the two guys, ‘Cookie’ is a fantastic player, one of the best who’s ever played for England.”

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