Essex left black and blue after Harvey's onslaught

Essex 262 & 137-4 Yorkshire 408
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The Independent Online

Essex are in the wars. Already without six first-choice players, injured or unavailable, they have had to make two hospital visits in Leeds and now face a long day trying to avert an opening defeat. On Thursday John Stephenson, the second team coach drafted in, injured a right thumb while Adrian McCoubrey followed, hit behind the right ear by a furious blow from Ian Harvey.

Harvey, on the form shown since his move from Gloucestershire, is destined to make sore more than a few heads and egos. He missed, by five runs, becoming the first Yorkshire overseas player to make a century on his debut, a feat not achieved by the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Michael Bevan and Darren Lehmann.

Harvey took part in a pulverising stand of 148 in 33 overs with Michael Lumb after Yorkshire had been four wickets down and 79 behind.

Lumb was on 76 when he gave a tame return catch, but by then Yorkshire were 109 ahead. The new ball ploughed into the tail, only Chris Silverwood finding time to reload, and Essex were in again, 146 behind with 15 overs to tea.

This time they did have a little good fortune. Alistair Cook offered third slip a very high, fingertip chance, when four, and Andy Flower might have been caught behind on three. Will Jefferson was dismissed by a sharp break-back leaving a 3,000 crowd to admire, reluctantly, a handsome half-century from the 19-year-old Cook.