Cook ensures Essex a draw
Essex 341 and 254 for 4 drew with Kent 474 and 204
Essex were forced to settle for a draw against Kent after being presented with a victory target of 338 in a minimum of 78 overs at Chelmsford. The hosts closed on 254 for 4 after they opted for a safety-first approach following the dismissal of number five Ryan ten Doeschate.
He arrived in the 50th over with 188 still required but was unable to produce the fireworks needed to mount any sort of challenge. The Dutchman made only 13 from 17 deliveries before he was trapped leg before by Azhar Mahmood, leaving Tom Westley and captain Mark Pettini to drop anchor.
Kent even had time to send down additional overs but they were unable to separate the fifth-wicket pair. Westley followed up his century in the first innings with an unbeaten 58 that spanned 122 deliveries and brought him seven boundaries. Pettini finished on 40 not out.
Earlier England opener Alastair Cook, without moving into top gear, made a sedate 72 containing half-a-dozen boundaries before his defences were breached by occasional leg-spinner Joe Denly.
Denly also removed Jaik Mickleburgh, trapped lbw victim when sweeping, while James Hockley had Billy Godleman caught at slip to end a first-wicket partnership of 52. Soon afterwards Hockley withdrew from the action with a pulled hamstring.
Kent had earlier lost their remaining wickets for 54 runs after resuming on 150 for 5. The first two were claimed by David Masters, Matt Coles and Hockley the batsmen, during a four-over spell before a shin problem prevented him continuing.
That paved the way for leg-spinner Danish Kaneria to claim the three remaining wickets, including that of Sam Northeast, who scored 71 to record his second half-century of the game.
Northeast put up a simple catch to Tim Philips at point, before Makhaya Ntini was trapped lbw with the next delivery as Kent were bowled out for 204. Earlier Kaneria had also accounted for Mahmood on his way to figures of 4 for 68 from 24 overs.
Kent emerged with 11 points from the game and are still looking for their first championship win of the campaign. Essex claimed eight points.