Cook, Chambers give Essex control against Windies

CHELMSFORD, England, CMC – Dependable Shivnarine Chanderpaul carved out an unbeaten half century but Jamaican fast-bowler Maurice Chambers snared four wickets and Test opener Alastair Cook stroked an unbeaten half-century to place Essex in a commanding position against West Indies in their three-day tour match on yesterday.

After Chambers helped reduce West Indies to a paltry 146 all out with Chanderpaul hitting 66 not out, before Cook paced himself to an unbeaten 74 for Essex to close day two on 175 for three, an overall lead of 292.

Essex had earned a 117-run first innings lead when they restricted West Indies to 146 all out as they replied to a first innings total of 263
From an overnight 24 for one, West Indies declined sharply as the Chambers and his new-ball partner Jahid Ahmed struck three quick blows and left the tourists tottering at 29 for four.

Without addition to the overnight score, West Indies had Dale Richards (8) caught behind of Chambers, who then bowled Narsingh Deonarine for a second-ball “duck”.

Five runs later, Ahmed had Lendl Simmons (4) caught behind, and the county side tightened their grip on the game by snaring three more wickets before the lunch break.

Chambers bowled Brendan Nash (14) at 64 for five, Ahmed had David Bernard (12) caught behind and Darren Sammy fell leg before wicket for one to medium-pacer Mervyn Westfield.

Lionel Baker, batting at No.9, and Chanderpaul, staged an innings best partnership of 37 that ended when Chambers trapped the 24-year-old Montserratian lbw for nine at 117 for eight.

Westfield wrapped up the innings by removing Andrew Richardson (4) and Nelon Pascal without scoring, leaving Chanderpaul undefeated.
Chanderpaul batted 165 minutes and faced 107 balls, stroking 10 fours and two sixes in his innings.

Chambers, a 21-year-old originally from Portland in north-eastern Jamaica, finished with four for 62 off 14 overs with three maidens, while Westfield (3-25) and Ahmed (2-55) shared five wickets.

Baker and Pascal struck two early blows before tea, which Essex took at 47 for two, after losing veteran Jason Gallian (0) to Baker in the first over and Varun Chopra (14) caught behind off Pascal at 31 for two.

During the last session, Essex lost Jaik Mickleburgh lbw to Baker for 23 but were otherwise fruitful during the session, compiling 128 runs with Mickleburgh’s departure the only blemish.

Cook, on the mend from a fractured finger injury and who scored 46 in the first innings, looked in good touch as he struck eight boundaries in a 140-ball knock less than two weeks before the first Test against West Indies at Lord’s.

Cook had a chance early in his innings when stand-in wicketkeeper Lendl Simmons missed a sharp chance diving to his right off Pascal.
The Essex captain James Foster, who played seven Test matches for England between 2001 and 2002, was not out on 48 at stumps enjoying a 77-run fourth-wicket stand with Cook.

Baker has been the West Indies’ best bowler so far with two for 31 off nine overs, while Pascal has one for 23 off eight in the game which ends today.

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