Alastair Cook, Joe Root, England
Alastair Cook (left) and Joe Root (Image courtesy: Getty)

Australia’s Peter Siddle took five wickets as England captain Joe Root and predecessor Alastair Cook both fell for ducks on an extraordinary opening day in the County Championship clash between Essex and Yorkshire at Chelmsford on Friday.

A bewildering 22 wickets in total fell on what appeared to be a largely blameless pitch, with Yorkshire shot out for just 50 by county champions Essex.

It was the White Rose county’s lowest total since 1973 when Surrey dismissed them for 43 at The Oval.

Sam Cook, a 20-year-old paceman, led Essex’s attack with five for 28 while Australia veteran Siddle returned figures of four for seven.

Essex, despite Alastair Cook’s nought, managed 142 in reply before Yorkshire, with England wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow promoted to open making exactly 50 before falling to Siddle, on 161 for two in their second innings come stumps.

Cheteshwar Pujara eager to share Yorkshire dressing room with Joe Root
Cheteshwar Pujara eager to share Yorkshire dressing room with Joe Root

Root and Bairstow were both making their first appearances of the English season but it was Sam Cook — no relation of opening batsman Alastair — who got the cascade of wickets flowing.

After getting rid of both Harry Brook and Adam Lyth, he dismissed Root first ball with the aid of a catch at first slip by Alastair Cook.

Jamie Porter then had India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara LBW before Siddle polished off the innings with a spell of four for seven in 22 balls.

Jack Leaning was lbw and Steven Patterson caught behind before Nick Browne held two catches at third slip to remove Jack Brooks and top scorer Gary Ballance, who made 22.

In between Sam Cook took his fifth wicket – and second five-wicket haul in successive appearances against Yorkshire – when Tim Bresnan was seventh out, another lbw victim.

Essex batted for five overs before lunch and in that time still managed to lose two wickets, with left-hander Alastair Cook, England’s all-time leading Test run-scorer, lasting six balls before he was caught behind by England colleague Bairstow after a loose shot against Brooks.

Dan Lawrence made 48 before he was lbw to former England all-rounder Bresnan and Siddle chipped in with 15 down the order.

Yorkshire’s second innings saw Bairstow take the attack to Essex in a 44-ball innings including six fours and a six before Siddle bowled him.

In the midst of everything, 19-year-old Brook made his maiden Championship fifty to end the day on 57 not out, with Pujara unbeaten on 22.