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Bob Willis Trophy final: Alastair Cook hits big hundred to put match in the balance

Sir Alastair Cook struck 172 to claw Essex back into the contest and leave match finely poised

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Bob Willis Trophy final: Alastair Cook hits big hundred to put match in the balance

Sir Alastair Cook bats in the Bob Willis Trophy final

Essex 271/6 v Somerset 301

Sir Alastair Cook loves scoring runs. Loads and loads of them. Any kind will do, normally off his hips or clipped behind square. However on a crisp, sunny afternoon at Lord's we were treated to the lesser-spotted cover drive. Not once but four times. It showed just how confident he was at the crease, hitting a stunning 172 as he propelled Essex into a commanding position, becoming the Bob Willis Trophy top-scorer in the process.

While Cook will take all the headlines, Essex skipper Tom Westley ensured that during the tricky morning session there was no collapse following the departure of Nick Browne. Hitting a fine half-century of his own, Westley was eventually dismissed to a magnificent catch by Tom Abell in close, who was able to hold on after the ball darted off the bat.

Up against an onslaught from Cook, Lewis Gregory demonstrated some much-needed perseverance and initiative to pick up four vital wickets for Somerset. Indeed it was Lewis, usually first change, who was called back to dislodge the England legend after taking the new ball

It looked at one point as if Somerset were not going to be able to tame the flying Eagles, as Cook launched them to within touching distance of Somerset's first innings score. However Gregory's four-for and timely interventions by Craig Overton and Tom Lammonby mean Essex are now 30 runs behind Somerset with four wickets to hand and 22 overs left to bat. All looks straight forward, but will nerves get involved.
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