County Championship: Alastair Cook makes 125 for Essex before Kent fight back
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Cloudfm County Ground (day one):|
|Essex 303-8: Cook 125, Bopara 61; Stevens 3-53, Milnes 3-56|
|Kent: Yet to bat|
|Essex 3 pts, Kent 2 pts|
Former England captain Alastair Cook scored his first century of the season for Essex before late wickets got Kent back into the game at Chelmsford.
Cook's 125 had taken his county to 275-3 after tea, but his run out after some fine work by Sean Dickson sparked the loss of four more quick wickets.
Captain Ryan ten Doeschate, Michael Pepper, Ravi Bopara and Peter Siddle all went as Essex closed on 303-8.
Darren Stevens claimed the key wicket of Bopara for 61 in the 92nd over.
All-rounder Stevens and paceman Matt Milnes both finished the opening day with three wickets to give their side hope of keeping Essex down to a manageable first-innings score.
Cook, who had only scored 140 runs in six County Championship innings before his 65th first-class hundred, was at his watchful best in spending more than five hours at the crease.
But a moment of hesitancy while attempting to run two cost the 34-year-old as Dickson's pinpoint throw from behind square gave Kent wicketkeeper Ollie Robinson an easy job to whip the bails off.
Soon after, Ten Doeschate, Pepper, Bopara and Siddle were all dismissed in a frantic six-over spell which saw Essex collapse from 298-4 to 301-8.
Simon Harmer and Jamie Porter saw out the remaining 11 deliveries following Siddle's wicket without any further damage.