Cooke enjoys run feast as Northants struggle on opening day against Glamorgan
Northants endured a tough opening day of their LV= Insurance County Championship clash with Glamorgan at Wantage Road.
Chris Cooke celebrated his second century of the season as the Welsh county enjoyed a run-filled opening day while for Northants there were three wickets for Gareth Berg and two apiece for Saif Zaib and Wayne Parnell, who was making his debut.
Cooke, who had scored an unbeaten 102 against Yorkshire in the season opener, serenely reached close on 107 not out, after a chanceless afternoon and evening batting.
David Lloyd and the massively in form Kiran Carlson also reached half-centuries as Glamorgan racked up 324 for seven having been put in by Northants skipper Adam Rossington.
Lloyd reached a second half-century in as many matches in 69 balls, during a knock filled with crisp and positive striking.
While Lloyd had feasted on driving Ben Sanderson, Nathan Buck and Wayne Parnell, the experienced Gareth Berg was causing problems and taking wickets with his incisive seamers.
The former Middlesex and Hampshire man’s eight over first spell saw him take two for nine.
After a 66-run opening partnership, Berg deceived Nick Selman into leaving a ball which angled into his off stump.
Andy Balbirnie was rattled on the pads soon after to hand Berg his second wicket in 10 deliveries.
Having bossed the session, Lloyd would have felt disappointed in the manner in which he departed to the last ball before lunch, as he tamely flicked debutant Parnell to midwicket for 65.
South African Parnell, who has been forced to wait for his Northants bow after his quarantine was extended by the NHS’ track-and-trace system, struck again after the interval to pin Billy Root.
Carlson and Cooke then partnered up to put on 106 for the fifth wicket, with 20 boundaries shared between the due thanks to a lightning quick outfield and a tiny square boundary on one side.
Carlson has begun this season in style with scores of 55, 127 not out and 132 in his innings against Yorkshire and Sussex – he continued that form by bringing up a rapid 64 ball half-century.
Captain Cooke followed him to the milestone with the day’s trademark square drive in 18 more balls than his partner.
But Carlson and Callum Taylor fell in successive balls to left-arm spinner Saif Zaib – yorked for 54 and beaten past the outside edge respectively – although the County man couldn’t bag a first Northants hat-trick for 11 years as Dan Douthwaite blocked a potential treble.
Douthwaite entertainingly accompanied Cooke in a 92-run marriage before he was castled by Berg for 44 with the second new ball – Berg ending the day with three for 52.
But it was Cooke, who had totted runs up almost anonymously, that became the first Glamorgan player to convert their fifty – as he reached a hundred for the sixth time in his first-class career in 180 balls with a glorious straight drive.
Northamptonshire vs Glamorgan, LV= Insurance County Championship
Day one of four, Northants won the toss
Glamorgan first innings: 324-7