SIR Alastair Cook and Ryan ten Doeschate used their vast experience with half-centuries as Essex claimed a first-innings lead in their County Championship fixture against Warwickshire.

Cook and ten Doeschate have a combined age of 76, have scored 35,820 runs in 516 first-class matches and used all that knowhow on a tricky pitch which nipped around.

Former England captain Cook scored 57, the 185th of glittering career, and on his 200th first-class appearance ten Doeschate totted up 56.

Liam Norwell and Will Rhodes both snared three wickets apiece as Essex were bowled out for 217, a lead of 51, before Danny Briggs blocked out one over for no runs.

The morning session was a frustrating muddle of bad light and a spot of drizzle – with a delayed start and a hokey-cokey when everyone took their places to resume before the sun dipped behind a cloud.

There was enough time before lunch for Tom Westley to bring up his 500th run of the season, get dropped at square leg and then edge Olly Hannon-Dalby behind.

The start of the afternoon was also delayed, but once it commenced the game started to move along at a decent pace.

Dan Lawrence, on the back of a Test call-up for the upcoming New Zealand series, was put down by international team-mate Dom Sibley at square leg before he had his off stump uprooted by a Liam Norwell yorker.

Cook was the main attraction and anchor to the innings as he mixed his typically gritty blocking with a five aesthetically pleasing cover drives.

He passed 50 for the third time this season in 87 balls but was undone by the introduction of Will Rhodes.

The medium pacer, who took a five-for on his previous appearance at the Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford, dangled a half-volley outside Cook’s off stump with his second delivery to produce an edge.

Rhodes then had Paul Walter leg before and Adam Wheater caught and bowled when skying to have three wickets in his first four overs.

ten Doeschate then rebuilt with a 44-run stand with Simon Harmer, the Dutch international contributing 38 in a busy fashion while moving to his half-century with a flash through the slips.

He gloved Norwell behind and Peter Siddle pushed to second slip and while Essex picked up a batting point by passing 200, Sam Cook was yorked by Briggs and Jamie Porter nicked off to end the innings.