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  • Specsavers County Championship 2m

    Top five: Specsavers County Championship 28 June

    Alastair Cook hits 193 and Nick Browne a double ton as the pair break all sorts of records for Essex.

    CHEF'S COOKING UP A STORM

    We know he's had some purple patches before, but is Alastair Cook in the form of his life? His magnificent 193 for Essex against champions Middlesex was his highest score of the season, his sixth ton of 2017 for Essex, his third in the Championship and the 59th in his first-class career. He's now got 1,303 county runs to his name this season. South Africa, look out.

    IN GREAT NICK

    Cooky's the main man for Essex right now but he was outscored on the day by his opening partner Nick Browne, who smashed an incredible 221 at Chelmsford. It's the third time in a row he's reached three figures and then gone on to make a double. He and Cook put on a remarkable 373 for the opening wicket, eclipsing the highest opening stand in Essex's history, set by Graham Gooch and Paul Prichard in 1990. And then Varun Chopra tonned up in just 74 balls! Crazy.

    GOING DUTCH

    At 102/1, Somerset would have been feeling pretty confident of surpassing Hampshire's first innings score of 211/9d. But then Ian Holland provided a little bit of X-Factor. No surprise it was him either, having won a rookie contract with Victoria in Australia thanks to a reality TV show. He took 4/8 in four overs and contributed a fine run out as Somerset slumped to 135/8 before the rain came. We may still get a result yet on the south coast.

    TIED UP IN NOTTS

    It was a strange day at Trent Bridge. Kent started with Joe Weatherley replacing Sam Billings, who was not out overnight but left to link up with England Lions before their clash with South Africa. The wickets were shared around - one beaut of a James Pattinson yorker accounting for Weatherley - before Darren Stevens was hit on the head and retired hurt. At the close, Kent were 214/7, leading by 23 runs with three wickets left, if Stevens returns to the crease.

    THE NEED FOR UMEED

    We saluted Andy Umeed on Tuesday and make no apologies for doing the same on Wednesday. It emerged that the 21-year-old's century was the slowest Championship ton in history at 429 minutes, beating the previous slowest, by Northamptonshire's Billy Denton against Derbyshire in 1914. It's just a shame the young man couldn't carry his bat, as he was eventually dismissed for 113 in 494 minutes and 392 balls at a strike rate of 28.82. Incredible. 

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