Cook hits century in Essex's opening game

Together with Tom Westley, who blasted 121, England captain Alastair Cook put on 222 in a record second wicket partnership for Essex against Gloucestershire at Chelmsford. Cook's knock of 105 was his first County Championship century since 2014.

Alastair Cook collected 16 boundaries in his 187-ball knock.   -  Getty Images (File Photo)

England Test captain Alastair Cook hit his first County Championship century since 2014 on Monday as the Essex batsman made a confident start to his preparations for the forthcoming international campaign. Cook, 31, looked in dominant form on his way to scoring 105 in Essex's opening game of the English domestic competition against Gloucestershire at Chelmsford.

Together with Tom Westley, who blasted 121, Cook put on 222 in a record second wicket partnership for Essex in matches against Gloucestershire. Cook reached his century from 182 deliveries, 16 of which he dispatched to the boundary, as Essex finished a rain-interrupted day on 287 for six in response to their opponents' first innings total of 262.

'Good position'

"It was nice to get a few and it helped put us in a good position," Cook said. "I've been happy with the way I've been playing pre-season and so it was nice to get the hundred."

Cook is England's leading run-scorer in Test cricket and requires just 36 more to become the first England player to reach the milestone of 10,000 Test runs. England's first Test match of its home season is against Sri Lanka at Headingley, starting on May 19, as it returns to the five-day game after the team, captained by Eoin Morgan, suffered a painful defeat in the recent Twenty20 final against West Indies.