Mickleburgh's century joy for Essex

Phil BanyardNorfolk's Jaik Mickleburgh struck his maiden first class century on his first appearance of the season for Essex yesterday, at county champions Durham.Phil Banyard

Norfolk's Jaik Mickleburgh struck his maiden first class century on his first appearance of the season for Essex yesterday, at county champions Durham.

The 20-year-old, who plays club cricket for Horsford, got his chance as Matt Walker was ruled out with a calf strain and Tom Westley had returned to university.

And he grabbed the opportunity with relish, reaching 103no as Essex closed day one at the Riverside on 263 for four in the Division One clash.

'It was a very pleasing to hit the century, we knew it would be difficult having been put into bat and it was a day for grafting,' Mickleburgh told the Essex website.

'Batting with Alastair Cook and James Foster was very helpful because they both gave me confidence and kept me concentrating. It was a wicket on which you never really felt you were in because the ball was nibbling around a bit.

'I had a bit of a problem with my right knee when I was batting but the physio sorted it out, I thought it might be a recurrence of an old injury.

Most Read

'Hopefully, we can go on tomorrow and post a lot more runs that would put is in a position where we can exert some pressure on Durham.'

Mickleburgh came to the crease with Essex in trouble at 29 for two after Callum Thorpe had picked up two early wickets for the hosts.

But Mickleburgh joined forces with England opener Cook in a partnership of 60, before the England opener edged to slip having made 44.

Essex skipper Mark Pettini departed cheaply, but Foster (66no) and Mickleburgh then shared an unbroken stand of 161 for the fifth wicket.

Mickleburgh's push for three figures could have been derailed towards the end of the day when he appeared to injure himself pulling the ball to the boundary. But after treatment he batted on and a hook shot for six took him to 99.

He then pushed a quick single to bring up his century - at the scene of Norfolk's MCCA Knockout Trophy success last year.

At the close of play, Mickleburgh had batted for just over five hours, facing 233 balls and hitting eight fours and a six.

Elsewhere, another Norfolk-bred batsman, Will Jefferson, also enjoyed a good day as he made 94 for Leicestershire at Derby in Division Two.

The 6ft10in opener - who also played for Horsford - struck 14 fours and a six in the visitors' 279 all out. By the close the hosts had struggled to 39 for two.