Cricket: Cox hits fine 173 in first innings

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JAMIE COX marked his first County Championship innings with a brilliant 173 as Somerset took control on the opening day against Yorshire at Taunton yesterday.

The new Somerset captain lost the toss and saw Peter Bowler bowled by the last ball of Chris Silverwood's first over. But that was the low point in Cox's day. He went on to strike 25 fours and a six, batting for just under five and a half hours in leading his side to 362 for 6 at the close. It was a masterly display by the 29-year-old Tasmanian, whose textbook driving was a feature of a memorable knock.

An unbeaten 79 by the opener Toby Peirce guided Sussex into a useful position over Glamorgan at the close of the second day in Cardiff. Sussex bowled out a Glamorgan side depleted by the absence of their injured captain, Matthew Maynard, and at the close they had reached 136 for 5, already 209 runs ahead with five second-innings wickets standing.

Mark Ramprakash guided Middlesex out of trouble with an unbeaten 76 against Gloucestershire at Bristol. Showing great patience and excellent shot selection on a slow pitch, Ramprakash, aided by David Nash, took his side from a troubled 122 for 5 at tea to 196 for 5 in reply to Gloucestershire's 297.

Essex kept Warwickshire in the field for most of the day at Chelmsford, but failed to claim a batting point. Their progress was so slow that the innings was in the 106th over when the final wicket fell at 191, leaving the visitors with a useful first-innings lead of 80. At least Essex, bottom of the Championship last season, did not give their wickets away cheaply and showed plenty of determination.