Sir Alastair Cook’s 71st first-class century thwarted Yorkshire on day one of their LV= Insurance County Championship fixture against Essex.
Cook batted through the vast majority of the day on a Chelmsford pitch offering signs of assistance for seamers and spinners but with a distinct lack of pace.
The 37-year-old opener, who finished with 107 off 268 balls, was coming up against a Yorkshire team including his successor as England Test captain Joe Root, who himself resigned from the role only last month.
His innings was the cornerstone of his side’s close of play 234-3 from 96 overs.
Cook and fellow left-hander, the 6ft 8inches Paul Walter, advanced Essex from 56-2 before lunch thanks to a 174-run partnership for the third wicket through until the final 20 minutes of the day.
Walter will begin day two unbeaten on 89 and in sight of his maiden first-class hundred.
Root was the only change in Yorkshire’s team from last week’s home draw against Kent at Headingley, with Haris Rauf dropping out due to his side injury.
It was hoped Ben Coad would be fit to play his first match of the season following a groin injury, but he did not make the eleven named by Steve Patterson at the toss.
After Patterson elected to bowl first, Yorkshire were given the ideal start when Jordan Thompson struck after three balls of the county’s fourth round fixture.
He had Nick Browne caught low down at third slip by George Hill, leaving the score at 0-1.
Essex did not score a run until deep into the sixth over as Thompson and Patterson dried things up.