Wednesday 14 March 2007 

Cook And Pettini Shine In Tour Opener

Essex began their pre-season tour of Dubai and Abu Dhabi with a 171-run win against UAE/UAE Academy at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.

The tourists opted to bat first in the 50-overs-per-side day/night game with opening pair Alastair Cook and Ronnie Irani both hitting half-centuries.

Mark Pettini top-scored with 95 while Andy Flower chipped in with 60 as the top order laid the foundation for a total of 338-8.

Wickets fell steadily in the reply as the hosts never appeared likely to get near Essex’s total. Mervyn Westfield’s pace and Cook’s off-spin both accounted for two victims apiece as wickets were spread around a seven-man bowling attack.

Varun Chopra, Graham Napier, Darren Thomas and Tom Westley were omitted for the first of four games on a 10-day trip.

Essex’s next match takes place on Thursday when they take on Fly Emirates at Sharjah Cricket Stadium (2pm, 40-over day/night).

UAE/UAE Academy v Essex – Scorecard

Tuesday March 13 (50-overs-per-side, 2pm start, day/night match)

Essex won the toss and elected to bat first

Essex 338-8 off 50 overs

(Cook 61, Irani 58, Pettini 95, Andy Flower 60, Grant Flower 14, Foster 5, Middlebrook 1, Tudor 8, Phillips 17 not out, Westfield 1 not out, Palladino dnb)

UAE/UAE Academy 167-8 off 50 overs

(Tudor 0-20 off 8 overs, Palladino 0-39 off 8 overs, Westfield 2-25 off 8 overs, Phillips 1-9 off 6 overs, Middlebrook 1-26 off 10 overs, Grant Flower 1-23 off 6 overs, Cook 2-12 off 4 overs)

Essex won by 171 runs

Essex team

Ronnie Irani (Captain)

Alastair Cook

Mark Pettini

Andy Flower

Grant Flower

James Foster

James Middlebrook

Tim Phillips

Alex Tudor

Mervyn Westfield

Tony Palladino