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