Steve Patterson spoke of a “tough day’s cricket” after day one at Chelmsford and revealed how a minor setback in training for Ben Coad ruled him out of a return to action.

Essex closed the opening day of the fourth round LV= Insurance County Championship fixture on 234-3 from 96 overs having been invited to bat.

Sir Alastair Cook’s 107, his 71st first-class century, was the centrepiece of their efforts on a slow pitch.

Captain Patterson led a depleted bowling attack which missed Coad despite the seamer being named in the squad for this fixture.

“It was a tough day’s cricket,” he confirmed, whilst explaining his decision to bowl first.

“We didn’t expect it to be a minefield, and we thought that if there was anything in the pitch it would be this morning before the sun came out and baked it.

“Getting a wicket in the first over gave us a bit of hope it was going to be a good day.

?“Then we dropped an easy chance quite early off Jordan Thompson and it got quite tough from there. By and large, we bowled quite well as a unit when you consider we have quite a depleted bowling attack. We stuck at it well.

“We did create some chances. We put four or five catches down – some of them easy, some harder – and we had a couple of close lbws.

“We stuck at it really well, but it just didn’t go for us today.”

Coad has missed the early stages of the season with a groin injury.

And Patterson said: “Ben came down here with the intention of playing.
“From what I gather, he had a bowl on Tuesday in practice and felt something a little bit different to what he’s been off with in the last few weeks. It was decided he wasn’t fit to play.

“It was a bit of a blow. So to have only two frontline experienced seamers after three hard weeks already was a challenge.”

Patterson struck alongside Jordan Thompson and Dom Bess and praised the efforts of both.

He said Bess bowled “with great skill and consistency”, and of Thompson admitted: “I was really impressed with Jordan today. He’s been a little bit hit and miss so far this year for how good a bowler he is. We know what he’s capable.

“What we saw today was him back to his best, and he deserved more than he got there.

“It’s a very slow paced pitch. There was a little bit of sideways movement when the ball was harder. But, despite not wickets, we never let them get away.”

Patterson has now dismissed Cook six times in as many first-class matches against him, and added: “We all know how good a player he is and how good he’s been for the last 15-20 years.

“It would have been nice to get him in my first spell, not my fourth or fifth!

“But it was nice to see the back of him before tomorrow because he sets up to bat tomorrow and it could have been even harder.

“We have a new ball in the morning.

“We haven’t had the results we’d have wanted. But, if we can start well and get two or three early, hopefully they don’t get too far away from us.”

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