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RESULT
4th Match, Nottingham, April 05 - 08, 2024, County Championship Division One
253 & 374/9d
(T:335) 293 & 80

Essex won by 254 runs

Report

Sam Cook 'desperate' for England chance after running through Notts

But Essex sweat on possible points deduction after Feroze Khushi uses oversized bat

Sam Cook celebrates an early breakthrough, Nottinghamshire vs Essex, County Championship, Division One, Trent Bridge, May 19, 2023

Sam Cook celebrates an early breakthrough  •  Getty Images

Essex 253 (Cox 84, Elgar 80, Paterson 5-49) and 374 for 9 dec (Walter 79, Critchley 68) beat Nottinghamshire 293 (Clarke 104, Haynes 77) and 80 (Cook 6-14) by 254 runs
Sam Cook spearheaded Essex's 254-run win over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, taking 6 for 14 on the final day to go with his first-innings hat-trick. Cook finished with match figures of 10 for 73, dispelling concerns about his effectiveness with the Kookaburra ball which is being used in four rounds of the 2024 County Championship season.
"I am pretty chuffed with the way the ball has come out this week, particularly with it being a Kookaburra," Cook said. "There have been some questions about what I could do with a Kookaburra ball… I'm desperate to play for England and hopefully that performance is something towards that.
"But I'm trying to concentrate on playing for Essex and enjoying taking wickets for Essex. In the past, I've probably been guilty of chasing it a bit too much and getting caught up in that, but in the last six months I've tried to go back to basics and concentrate on what I do well."
Cook is a traditional English seamer who bowls at speeds closer to 80mph than 90mph, but has a phenomenal first-class record with 275 wickets at 19.48. Following Stuart Broad's retirement, he could come into contention to play Test cricket this summer and Anthony McGrath, Essex's head coach, believes he could thrive.
"Some people have said he couldn't bowl with a Kookaburra and I think that performance puts that argument to bed," McGrath said. "England's best bowlers over the last how many years have been Broad and [James] Anderson. Obviously they are legends of the game but in the last couple of years they have not had blistering pace.
"They've just been metronomic in what they do, highly skilled in swing and seam and Sam has that in abundance. I think he's quick enough… You saw out there today that not many other bowlers got as much out of the pitch as he did, particularly in that second innings when he was absolutely relentless and bowled some magic deliveries."
Nottinghamshire were bowled out for 80 in their fourth innings, having been set 335 to win in 88 overs after Essex declared early on the final morning. Cook's strike partner Jamie Porter took 3 for 43 to deliver a 20-point victory - though they now face an anxious wait to see if they will suffer a points deduction.
Feroze Khushi, their opener, failed an on-field dimensions check during their second innings and they could be liable to lose up to 16 points. In 2022, Durham were docked 10 points after Nic Maddison's bat failed to fit through the measurement gauge routinely used by umpires in English cricket.
"We don't know yet where we are with that," McGrath said. "The match referee and the umpires were involved after the incident and now it will go to the ECB. We'll await news on that. They have got the bat in question and will go through whatever the process is involved and hopefully we will get to know within the next couple of days."
On the final morning, Essex declared their second innings closed after adding 45 runs in six overs to their overnight 329 for 8. Shane Snater was the only batter dismissed, caught at long leg for 47 off 46 balls, as Adam Rossington overcame a finger injury to finish unbeaten on 39 off 49.
Ben Duckett was bowled for 5, beaten on the outside edge for the second time in the match as Porter angled one in that straightened off the pitch. Haseeb Hameed followed in the next over, as Cook sent his off stump cartwheeling, before Ben Slater edged the same bowler to second slip.
Joe Clarke and Matt Montgomery held things together for the next 45 minutes, but when Clarke bottom-edged Snater into his stumps just before lunch, Nottinghamshire were 39 for 4 at lunch and their hopes of saving the game unravelled very quickly after the interval.
Montgomery was bowled by Cook, shouldering arms to a delivery that jagged back appreciably to take his off stump, Jack Haynes was pinned in front by another nip-backer, this time from Porter, before Cook removed Calvin Harrison (leg before) and Brett Hutton (comprehensively cleaned up) in the space of four deliveries to complete his 13th first-class five-wicket haul.
Cook struck for the sixth time to have Pennington edging to first slip. Dane Paterson then picked up six from one lusty blow at Porter, before losing his middle stump attempting another as Essex wrapped up their victory at nine minutes to three. "We've made a statement as a team in the way we achieved the win," Cook said.
"The way the last day unfolded doesn't really reflect the first three days of the game, in which the sides were pretty evenly matched. But the way we were so ruthless today says a lot about how we want to go about our cricket."

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