Worcestershire v Essex, Specsavers Championship Div 2, New Road, 2nd day May 2, 2016

Cook's third hundred continues prolific start

ECB Reporters Network

Essex 335 for 2 (Cook 130*, Westley 125) v Worcestershire

Alastair Cook offers his congratulations to Tom Westley © Getty Images

Alastair Cook's prolific start to the summer continued as he hit his third Specsavers County Championship hundred of the campaign for leaders Essex who dominated another weather-hit day against Worcestershire at New Road.

The England Test captain followed his 105 against Gloucestershire and 127 not out versus Sussex by reaching stumps undefeated on 130 from 254 balls with 20 fours and one six.

His hundred, brought up with a leg glance against Joe Leach, came off 206 balls and contained one six and 15 fours in what is Cook's final Championship appearance before he returns to international duty and the Test series against Sri Lanka.

Tom Westley also maintained his prolific start to 2016 with a second Championship ton as Essex took full advantage of the 50 overs possible. Then Ravi Bopara weighed in with a quickfire 48 not out as Essex reached 335 for 2 from 90 overs by the close. Cook and Westley shared in a second wicket stand of 222 in 63 overs and were seldom troubled by the home attack.

Essex resumed on 144 for 1 from 40 overs after a truncated opening day. The second-wicket partnership continued in the same impressive vein and Westley went to his hundred with a single off Ed Barnard from 163 balls with one six and 17 fours.

The England Lions player mixed a series of assured drives with the occasional stroke of good fortune as he twice edged Matt Henry to the boundary. Westley cut England spinner Moeen Ali for four to bring up the 200 partnership in 56 overs. Cook again looked in good nick, cover-driving and square-driving Henry to the ropes and straight-driving Leach for four.

But the visitors were then forced to kick their heels for more than four hours after bad light forced the players off at 12.20 with Westley on 122 and Cook 83.

Persistent rain set in during the afternoon and play did not restart until 4.45 with 28 overs remaining.

Westley added only three more runs to his tally before Henry made his second breakthrough - nearly 30 hours after the first. The New Zealand paceman trapped Westley lbw for 125 from 198 deliveries with one six and 22 fours.