Cowan and Housego give Gloucestershire edge over Essex
|County Championship Division Two, Cheltenham|
|Close, day one: Gloucestershire 147-2 v Essex|
Ed Cowan and Dan Housego scored half-centuries as Gloucestershire had the better of a rain-affected opening day against Essex.
Cowan, who has played seven Tests for Australia, was awarded his county cap and was unbeaten on 51 at close, while Housego made 60 on his injury return.
Reece Topley (2-37) ended the pair's 108-run second-wicket stand after earlier seeing off Benny Howell (18).
India spinner Harbhajan Singh went for 0-15 in six overs on his Essex debut.
Singh was welcomed to the game by Housego, who advanced down the pitch to deposit his third delivery over mid-wicket for six.
Shortly after Cowan reached his half-century, which included seven fours and a six, bad light stopped play and the showers began to ensure no more was possible.