It’s not cricket as Tim’s ton doesn’t count

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England sacrificed first-class cricket in an attempt to rescue a competitive contest on day three of their Ashes warm-up match against Essex.

Injuries to two frontline bowlers, and then a part-timer, at Essex’s initial disposal left England captain Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott batting against just one specialist seamer by mid-afternoon at Chelmsford.

The response, at the behest of England coach Andy Flower and with the agreement of all parties, was to allow Boyd Rankin and Reece Topley to bolster Essex’s impossibly depleted attack in pursuit of worthwhile preparation for his team to face Australia in next week’s first Test.

The consequent loss of this fixture’s first-class status was harsh on Essex leg-spinner Tom Craddock and England’s Tim Bresnan - whose career-best bowling and first hundred in six years will no longer count in the records.

Their window of opportunity was to be brief, however, as rain brought an early close, with England on 217-3 (Cook 82, Trott 79, Joe Root 26) 352 runs in front.