Sir Alastair Cook scored a century in both innings for the first time in his illustrious career as Essex and Yorkshire fought out a sluggish County Championship draw.
Cook, England’s leading Test run-scorer and a veteran of 19 years at first-class level, had never previously reached three figures twice in a match – but he rectified that omission on his career record with an unbeaten 102 in the dying embers of this Chelmsford stalemate.
Any outside prospect of a positive result evaporated on the final morning as Yorkshire – needing to build quickly on their overnight advantage of 22 – lost their last five wickets for 39 and were dismissed for 465. That left Cook, who had scored 107 first time around, and opening partner
Nick Browne under little pressure in their second innings and the pair eased comfortably past the deficit with an unbroken partnership of 167 before the captains agreed on a draw.
Resuming on 425-5, fast scoring appeared to be a necessity for the White Rose – but they displayed little attacking intent, garnering only three runs from the first six overs of the day.
Dawid Malan’s hopes of converting his 87 into a century disappeared when he clipped his first ball of the morning, a Shane Snater half-volley, into the hands of square leg, while Harry Brook showed none of the fluency that had already brought him a hundred.
Brook eventually fell for 123, caught behind wafting at a short delivery from Sam Cook, who was also unlucky not to claim the wicket of Harry Duke when he struck off stump and the bail refused to budge. Cook had to be content with figures of 3-78, while Snater (3-62) finished off the innings by having Dom Bess caught behind, leaving Essex with a deficit of 62 and half an hour to negotiate before lunch.
However, it was Cook who took centre stage and he brought up his 72nd first-class hundred from 178 deliveries, pulling a long hop to the fence from Joe Root, his successor as England skipper, shortly before stumps were drawn.
Essex 403 &167-0: Alistair Cook 102 not out, Browne 50 not out Yorkshire 425-5: Harry Brook 123, David Malan 87, Joe Root 75; Shane Snater 3-62, S Cook 3-78
Essex (11 pts) drew with Yorkshire (13 pts)