33rd Match, Canterbury, May 24 - 27, 2024, County Championship Division One
(fo) 394 & 101

Essex won by an innings and 96 runs


Essex recover from wobble as Jordan Cox returns to former home

Elgar, Browne half-centuries set platform for visitors on opening day in Canterbury

Dean Elgar acknowledges his half-century, Kent vs Essex, County Championship, Division One, Canterbury, May 24, 2024

Dean Elgar acknowledges his half-century  •  Getty Images

Essex 287 for 4 (Elgar 77, Browne 65) vs Kent
Essex recovered from an early evening wobble to reach 287 for four at stumps on day one of their Vitality County Championship derby with Kent at Canterbury.
Openers Dean Elgar and Nick Browne scored 77 and 65 respectively, putting on 146 for the first wicket.
Joey Evison took two for 38 for a Kent attack weakened by injuries, but after reducing Essex to 224 for four, they were unable to shift either Jordan Cox or Michael Pepper, who were unbeaten on 51 and 35 at the close.
When Essex won the toss and chose to bat a collective groan was uttered by the Spitfire Ground die-hards, who came in hope rather than expectation.
A healthy first day crowd of 1,200 watched a one-sided first session unfold as an undercooked attack toiled.
Browne was on nought when he drove at Stewart and Evison couldn't cling on to a tough chance at mid-on, but that was about as close as Kent came during a sterile opening session.
The hosts' morning was summed up when Elgar reached 60 after a misfield from Zak Crawley, who sprinted 50 yards and clawed the ball back from the boundary, only for it to ricochet off his trailing arm and go back over the rope for four.
An already injury-hit bowling attack was weakened further when Wes Agar injured his shoulder while fielding just before lunch, at which point it was 102 for nought.
Browne reached 50 with two off Evison, but Matt Parkinson finally broke through in the 46th over, when Elgar charged down the wicket and was stumped by Harry Finch.
Evison then produced a beauty that swing back in and bowled Browne middle-stump, which meant it was time for Cox to walk out at the St. Lawrence for the first time since his cross-Thames flit last year.
He was given diplomatic applause, took ten balls to get off the mark and then hit Parkinson back over his head for six. At that point Cox looked like he was going to "go hard or go home", but he reined himself in the face of some miserly Kent bowling and it was 185 for two at tea.
Tom Westley flashed at Arafat Bhuiyan and was caught at first slip by Crawley for 21, but Grant Stewart couldn't hold on to a violent return catch offered by Cox when he was on 15.
Matt Critchley survived a strong lbw shot from Evison, only to be trapped in front by the same bowler in his next over for 13, but Kent opted not to take the new ball due to Agar's ongoing absence.
Cox continued to play watchfully while Pepper injected some aggression to tilt the contest back in Essex's favour. They made an unbroken stand of 63 during the day's final hour and Cox brought up his half-century with successive fours off Parkinson in the final over.

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County Championship Division One