England's big names served humble pie by spinner Tom Craddock

England XI 328-7 Essex

The County Ground, Chelmsford

Ignore the half centuries from Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann that dragged England to 328 for 7 on the first day of their match against Essex. One distant day the star of the first day of England's first match of the Ashes summer will be the answer to a quiz question at The Cricketers' Arms: in that glorious back-to-back Ashes year of 2013, which bowler's first three first-class wickets of the season were Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell and Matt Prior?

'Shane Warne? He was long-gone, though there was talk of a comeback.' Australia's Nathan Lyon may get a mention. Then some county cricket aficionado will throw David Masters' name into the mix, remembering that England warmed up for the Ashes against Essex that year.

It would be unlikely if Tom Craddock's name cropped up. The wrist spinner's three victims possess 46 Test centuries between them, before Sunday he was without a first-class wicket this season. Now Craddock has a treble to tell the grandkids about.

"It's a bit surreal, Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell stood there, I thought if I could join a few dots then I'd be happy," said Craddock. Best day of his career? "No doubt."

Graham Gooch has had many better and at his old stamping ground his charges let him down. "Certainly come the Test series, if we get starts we've got to put big totals on the board," said England's batting coach, "because the job of the batters is to create an opportunity for the bowlers to win the match."

Yesterday the bowlers bailed out those batters. It was only thanks to that eighth-wicket partnership of 116 between Bresnan, in for the stiff-shouldered Stuart Broad, and Swann that the top seven's inadequacies were not compounded.

Some threatened to steal Craddock's thunder. An early Alastair Cook signature pull shot suggested he was glad to be back home. But then Tymal Mills produced a magic moment to dismiss the England captain for 18 from 31 balls. After forcing Cook into a squashed cut shot, the 20-year-old rapped Jonathan Trott's pads with a ball clocked at 94.5mph; without protection, Trott would have needed an ambulance capable of matching that pace. Joe Root also made an early bid for top billing. He edged his first ball for four but the rest of his boundaries in his 41 from 53 balls led to purrs of appreciation. Although Mills cracked him on the knee to remind England's new opener – and his rival Nick Compton – of sport's vagaries. With concentration disrupted, Root edged to second slip.

Up stepped Pietersen, who hit four boundaries within 10 balls to go past partner Trott's 34-ball 14. As is Trott's admirable custom, he treated his innings before lunch with Test-level commitment. But after a feed, he played an unnecessary drive to give Mills a second. The rest of the day belonged to the previously obscure Craddock. He dismissed Pietersen caught and bowled for 49 after dropping him in the previous over. Jaik Mickleburgh then held onto a sharp catch at short leg to help the 23-year-old snare Bell. Prior was fooled by genuine turn to complete Craddock's illustrious triumvirate of victims. That left England 206 for 6 and suggested Ravi Bopara had made an inspired, rather than conspired, decision to bowl first on a pitch he described, with a rueful smirk, as being "full of runs".

 



Broad's shoulder aside, Bell's form will give the England management most cause for concern. His 13 runs came in an often torturous hour from 46 deliveries. At Test level that would be questionable, against a Second Division attack, it is damnable. In 19 Tests since the start of 2012, Bell averages a touch over 32.

With Jonny Bairstow, bowled here for 23, yet to wholly convince in his eight Tests, England's middle order is looking better in the nets than in the middle. Bell and Bairstow will hope that Graeme Onions, in for the rested James Anderson, and his fellow bowlers make names for themselves today. But Sunday was all about that man Craddock. Remember the name, one distant day it could win you a keg.

Essex scoreboard

Chelmsford (First day of four): England have scored 328 for seven wickets against Essex

Essex won toss

ENGLAND First Innings

*A N Cook c Foakes b Mills 18

31 balls 2 fours

J E Root c Westley b Mahmood 41

53 balls 7 fours

I J L Trott c Foakes b Mills 32

54 balls 6 fours

K P Pietersen c & b Craddock 49

58 balls 10 fours

I R Bell c Mickleburgh b Craddock 13

46 balls 1 four

J M Bairstow b Mahmood 23

43 balls 3 fours

†M J Prior c Foakes b Craddock 20

38 balls 4 fours

T T Bresnan not out 55

132 balls 5 fours

G P Swann not out 62

87 balls 8 fours

Extras (b4 lb8 w1 nb2) 15

Total (for 7, 90 overs) 328

Fall 1-33, 2-73, 3-115, 4-163, 5-175, 6-206, 7-212.

To bat S T Finn, G Onions.

Bowling D D Masters 21-4-54-0, T S Mills 21-4-80-2, S I Mahmood 12-1-60-2, R S Bopara 12-2-36-0, T R Craddock 17-5-67-3, T Westley 7-0-19-0.

Essex T Westley, J C Mickleburgh, H D Rutherford, O A Shah, *R S Bopara, M L Pettini, †B T Foakes, S I Mahmood, D D Masters, T R Craddock, T S Mills.

Umpires R A Kettleborough and R T Robinson.

News
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
Voices
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum