Joe Root survived a fitness scare as England’s specialist batsmen squandered encouraging starts on day one of the Ashes warm-up match against Essex.
Root, set to open alongside Alastair Cook in the first Test against Australia at Trent Bridge in nine days’ time, fell for 41 in the over after needing a time-out with the physio, having suffered a painful blow as he pushed forward to Tymal Mills.
He was troubled by a sore left knee.
The young Yorkshire batsman had endured a slightly sketchy start, edging his second ball from David Masters just in front of and between the slips for four to get off the mark.
But he and Cook appeared in control on an easy paced pitch by the time the captain went caught-behind cutting at Mills to end an opening stand of 33. Root was joined by Jonathan Trott for the addition of another 40 until the opener, still in discomfort, edged Sajid Mahmood low to second slip.
He walked off limping, but England later reported no “major concerns” for a player they have nominated as Nick Compton’s successor at the start of this year’s back-to-back Ashes series.
There appeared to be little consternation either about the well-being of Stuart Broad, left out because of a stiff shoulder.
Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan bailed out England .
It was not until the eighth-wicket pair dug in that England at last had a 50 stand, converted via the innings’ first individual half-centuries into an unbroken 116 in a stumps total of 328 for seven at Chelmsford.
n A costly penultimate over from Liam Plunkett handed his former county Durham a first Friends Life t20 win at the second attempt against Yorkshire at Scarborough.
Durham looked down and out needing 82 runs off eight overs in their pursuit of 147, and even more so when they lost top-scorer Phil Mustard to Plunkett for 59 off 52 balls to leave the score at 110 for five after 16.5 overs.
But Gordon Muchall’s 44 not out off 27 balls was crucial, including getting the lion’s share of 16 off Plunkett in the 19th to take the equation from 25 off two overs to nine off the last. Michael Richardson hit the winning runs off the penultimate ball of the match to seal a four-wicket win. Last season’s finalists Yorkshire have now lost their first two matches ahead of Friday’s Roses clash at Headingley. It was rough justice for Plunkett, who had contributed significantly with both bat and ball .
On Friday Derbyshire beat Yorkshire as Jon Clare saw them over the line with three balls to spare with an excellent unbeaten 35.