“Essex are once again demonstrating their champion status with Nick Browne and Paul Walter having put on a resolute century stand for the fourth wicket and both reaching their half-centuries en route. They have had lives but also ridden the storm of Olly Stone after lunch and are currently chiselling away against the less physically intimidating combination of Will Rhodes and Danny Briggs. And as I type that Walter has just pulled Rhodes for a commanding four through mid-wicket. “
“Olly Stone is mighty unlucky not to have more than the one wicket today, I reckon. He saw a very good lbw shout against Nick Browne on nought turned down first thing and this afternoon found the edge of the opener’s bat on 24, only for the ball to fall millimeters short of Tim Bresnan at first slip. It might even have been a genuine, albeit tough chance. Then, just now, Paul Walter has survived another appeal for lbw that looked very good to me. Around the wicket to the left-hander and seemingly bang in front… but no dice, and Walter survives on 30. Essex 118 for three in the 45th over.”
“We’ve just had our first sighting of newly-appointed England batting coach Marcus Trescothick at Edgbaston. He’s sat in the sunshine at the far end chatting to Anthony McGrath. I’m no lip-reader but they appear to be discussing the merits of the defending-champions-wear-capes thing I floated earlier.”
“Back underway in Birmbados and Nick Browne has just been handed a life on 20. Craig Miles earned the right to resume after lunch following his two-wicket burst in the morning and should really have had a third, teasing an outside edge from Browne that flew at catchable height to Sam Hain at second slip. Twice he appeared to have taken the ball but after spot of juggling the ball hit the turf in front of him, dangnammit.”
“It’s been the veritable morning of two halves at sunny Edgbaston. During the first hour we watched Alastair Cook play with such freedom and flair to the point where thoughts were turning to a possible century before lunch from this promising young whippersnapper. Step forward Craig Miles, back after sitting out the win at Nottinghamshire, to get the former England captain caught behind on 46 with a lovely ball that just nipped away. Miles, full of energy and fizz, then followed this up by trapping Tom Westley lbw on the back leg for four. A tight decision on height, it must be said. Warwickshire weren’t done there either, Olly Stone’s second spell seeing Dan Lawrence chip one to mid-wicket and thus a second legside-dominant player to fall when playing a ball on their pads. At lunch the champions are 81 for three from 28 overs, with Nick Browne still there on 20 not out. The opener has struck five fours, which has got the press box wondering what is the highest first-class score to have been made up solely from boundaries…”
“Wow, a beauty from Craig Miles to remove Alastair Cook at Edgbaston – and it needed to be, such was the form shown this morning. At one point I was wondering if we’d see a century before lunch. Coming around the wicket from the City End, Miles got one to just leave the left-hander on the backfoot and tickle the outside edge of a straight bat for the simplest of caught behinds. Miles wheels away in ecstasy, Cook trudges off four short of his half-century and Essex are 55 for one.”
***ALASTAIR COOK SIX KLAXON*** as the knight to remember hooks Olly Stone over square leg. It’s a short boundary, admittedly, but a handsome shot nonetheless. Just the 11 in his 161 Tests but I’m struggling to find his first-class record in this regard. Cook off to a lively start, 28 not out from 33 balls and Essex 37 for no loss.
“Olly Stone has devoured a hunk of raw steak for breakfast and is charging in at Edgbaston. Huge shout for lbw against Nick Browne on nought just now and must say, it looked pretty good from up here. Only question seemed to be whether there was any bat on it but leg bye given. Anyway, Alastair Cook has driven a couple of handsome fours at the other end and Essex are 10 for no loss after four overs.”
Morning Tanya and friends,
Oi, oi, saveloys!
“It’s a gloriously sunny day here in leafy south Birmingham, where I find myself about to watch the Essex boys take on Warwickshire (well, day one before the Guardian upgrades its representative at this match). Both sides are coming off the back of memorable wins last week too. Peter Siddle is back for Essex after jetting in from Australia, so I am looking forward to watching his first woodchopping display of the season. Or, depending on the toss, another lumberjack in Olly Stone* charging in to bowl at Ziralasdair Gugg.
“No Dom Sibley for the Bears, he’s out of the next two rounds at least with the broken finger suffered during the storming of Trent Bridge, but birthday boy Jonathan Trott makes a return to Edgbaston (as the club’s new batting consultant, admittedly).
As an aside, my brother firmly believes champions (in any sport) should spend the following season wearing capes when they play. What do we reckon?
*Fun fact: Stone is the co-owner of a company that sells clefts of willow to bat makers”