Middlesex v Essex: Ex-England captain Alastair Cook makes 14 as hosts dominate
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Lord's (day two):|
|Middlesex 507-7 dec: Robson 149, Gubbins 101, Eskinazi 100; Porter 2-90|
|Essex 120-4: Browne 47; Roland-Jones 2-43|
|Essex trail by 387 runs|
|Middlesex 5 pts, Essex 1 pt|
Former England captain Alastair Cook was out for 14 as Middlesex dominated Essex with bat and ball at Lord's.
After Sam Robson (149) went early, caught behind off Jamie Porter, a 149-run stand from Stevie Eskinazi and John Simpson saw the hosts declare on 507-7.
Essex's reply started poorly when Cook edged behind off Toby Roland-Jones and Steven Finn bowled Tom Westley (31).
Nick Browne made 47 but fell lbw to spinner Ollie Rayner as Essex closed on 120-4, trailing by 387 runs.
Robson added just five runs to his overnight score for the county champions as the Essex seamers finally managed to make the ball swing under a mix gloomy and sunny conditions.
An inswinger from all-rounder Ravi Bopara caught Dawid Malan off guard as the 29-year-old chopped on before Adam Voges also fell cheaply when Porter trapped him lbw.
However, Middlesex got back on top with the fifth-wicket partnership between Simpson and Eskinazi who, having shrugged off being hit on the head by Neil Wagner, reached his third first-class century off 198 balls, only to be bowled by Westley's next delivery.
The home side declared after spinner Simon Harmer had Simpson stumped for 90. Then, after losing both Cook and Westley, Browne's watchful innings looked to have steadied the ship for Essex. But his LBW dismissal, followed by that of nightwatchman Porter, left Middlesex well on top.
Middlesex batsman Stevie Eskinazi told BBC Radio London:
"It's a reasonably good wicket but when Neil Wagner dug it in some kept a bit low. It was a good piece of bowling by him.
"He bowls it really well. It woke me up a little bit because I got into the ball a bit better after that. I misjudged the length.
"I lost a bit of rhythm after getting to 50. But, as soon as we went past the 110-over mark, I felt I was hitting the ball a lot better."
Essex's Jamie Porter told BBC Radio Essex:
"I thought I bowled in decent areas. That light shower of rain before play gave a little life to the pitch.
"And, with the cloud cover, it was also swinging. But then it went back to the same story as Friday.
"It was a shocking decision to give Nick Browne out. I don't think it was hitting another set. He was in and looking good."