Alastair Cook cruises to century ahead of first Test against South Africa
Browne weighs in with double ton as Essex pile pressure on Middlesex
Last Updated: 12/07/17 5:34pm
In-form Alastair Cook struck his third Specsavers County Championship century of the season as Essex poured on the runs against Middlesex, at Chelmsford.
With the first Test against South Africa just over a week away, Cook (193) shared a record first-wicket stand of 373 with Nick Browne (221) as the home side made light work of surpassing Middlesex's 246 all out.
Cook struck 26 fours in his 392-ball knock as he and Browne registered Essex's highest opening stand, surpassing the 316 scored by Graham Gooch and Paul in 1994, but was outscored by his partner after falling to the bowling of Ollie Raynor.
Browne went on to post his double hundred off 368 balls, getting there with a single off the bowling of Dawid Malan, and Varun Chopra put his foot on the gas to reach three figures off 74 balls and facilitate a declaration at 542-3.
Middlesex reached 27-0 before the close - openers Nick Compton and Nick Gubbins surviving a testing spell from new signing Mohammad Amir.
Warwickshire's Andy Umeed broke the record for the slowest century in County Championship history to set up an intriguing final day against Lancashire at Edgbaston.
The 21-year-old took 429 minutes to reach his hundred which was nine longer than it took Northamptonshire's Billy Denton against Derbyshire in 1914.
Umeed was eventually out for 113 out of a Warwickshire total of 321 which earned the home side a lead of 48.
Jos Buttler, promoted to opener, fell for just one and Haseeb Hameed's poor run continued as he fell for just 23 as Lancashire closed on 178-4 with a lead of 130.
Hampshire gained an upper hand over Somerset on day three at the Ageas Bowl as Ian Holland took 4-8 in just four overs.
Play did not start until 5.20pm due to rain, after which Eddie Byrom (43) and Adam Hose (48) piled on the runs put on 77 for the second wicket.
Holland then entered the attack, earning the Australian figures of 4-16 in the session - his best first-class return.
Somerset fell from 102-1 to 135-8 in 14 spectacular overs in response to Hampshire's 211-9 declared.
Day three of Yorkshire's clash with Surrey was washed out without a pink ball bowled at Headingley.
Yorkshire will therefore begin the final day on 27-1 in reply to Surrey's mammoth 516-7 declared, with bonus points likely to be the limit of either team's ambition if any play proves possible.