Joe Root got the biggest season of his career off to the perfect start with an unbeaten hundred for Yorkshire against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

The England captain scored 130 off 189 balls with 18 fours despite being hit on the helmet when he ducked into a bouncer from England team-mate Stuart Broad at the start of his innings.

Root shared a third-wicket stand of 253 with Gary Ballance, who contributed an unbeaten 101, as Yorkshire batted through the final day to secure a draw.

“Being hit dented the ego slightly but you expect that from someone with 400 Test wickets,” said Root. “As a side we were behind Notts for the majority of the game but we showed character and fight which is something for us to take forward.”

Earlier, Notts had declared on their overnight score leaving Joe Clarke, who made a century in the first innings, 97 not out.
Hampshire won their opening game of the season for the third year in a row when they defeated Essex by an innings and 87 runs at the Ageas Bowl.

Ravi Bopara had raised Essex’s hopes of saving the game with 107, his 26th first-class century, while Simon Harmer made 62. But Essex succumbed to the second new ball with South African Kyle taking took 5 for 77 while Fidel Edwards finished with eight wickets.

Hampshire captain James Vince said: “It was pretty much the perfect performance. To score over 500 and bowl them out twice – everything seemed to go to plan. We knew the new ball was going to be difficult so we had to hang in there and hope the bowlers had enough in the tank to hit the stumps with it and they did it well.”

Somerset beat Kent by 74 runs at Taunton after the visitors were bowled out for 131 chasing 206 to win. Lewis Gregory took 5 for 18 but the match had swung Somerset’s way during a last-wicket stand of 62 by George Bartlett (63) and Jack Brooks, who made 35 not out. Kent seamer Mitch Claydon finished with match figures of 9 for 112.

Gregory said: “Momentum is a massive thing in cricket and the partnership between George Bartlett and Jack Brooks at the end of our second innings probably helped us get off to such a good start when Kent batted. It’s great to start the season with a win and particularly having had to fight so hard for it.”

In Division Two, Leicestershire won at Hove for the first time in 24 years after half-centuries from skipper Paul Horton, debutant Hasan Azad and Mark Cosgrove guided them to a seven-wicket win over Sussex.

Foxes’ coach Paul Nixon believes his side are capable of being a force in the division this season. He said: “It will give us enormous confidence. Man-for-man, I believe we are as good as any team in Division Two and no county has worked harder this winter. It’s a long season but we’ve made a really positive start.”

Derbyshire got off to a winning start, beating Durham by 125 runs. Openers Gareth Harte and skipper Alex Lees made half-centuries but Derbyshire chipped away after Lees and Will Smith fell to successive balls from leg-spinner Matt Critchley.

Dawid Malan batted through the final day to make an unbeaten 160 as Middlesex drew with Northamptonshire at Northampton.

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