Cowan sends out message to England as he scores century against Essex (From Maldon and Burnham Standard)
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Cowan sends out message to England as he scores century against Essex
5:53pm Thursday 12th July 2012 in Countywide
ED Cowan issued a powerful message to England’s bowlers as Gloucestershire took charge on the second day of the County Championship Division Two match against Essex at Cheltenham.
While his countrymen were comprehensively outplayed by Alastair Cook’s men in the NatWest Series, Cowan reminded an enthralled Festival audience of the depth of Australia’s batting, compiling 103 to help the hosts reach 284-4 on day two of this rain-affected contest.
A regular Australia’s Test squad this year, the 30-year-old Tasmania left-hander will be looking to cement his place in next summer’s Ashes series when he leads the A team against England Lions next month.
Making his championship debut, Cowan batted for five-and-a-half hours on a pitch rendered less than straightforward by heavy overnight rain, facing 268 balls, hitting 12 fours and a six and sharing in a stand of 104 in 36 overs with fellow Antipodean Hamish Marshall for the fourth wicket.
Resuming on 51 not out, Cowan found runs hard to come by on a drying pitch and, hampered by a sluggish outfield, added just 31 from 100 balls, including a solitary boundary, during an attritional morning session.
But the advent of the new ball hastened the flow of runs after lunch and Cowan moved to three figures, straight-driving Reece Topley for four and then easing a full-length ball from David Masters through the covers in the next over to register his maiden championship hundred.
But Cowan was pinned on the front foot next ball by Masters, who was finally rewarded for his nagging accuracy.
Cowan and Marshall staged a match-winning stand of 142 in a Friends Life t20 triumph over Worcestershire at Bristol last week and the former New Zealand Test opener is another man in good form.
Marshall raised 50 from 95 balls, finding the boundary on seven occasions to keep up the pressure on Essex.
He was still there unbeaten on 72, made from 140 balls, when the rain brought a premature end to proceedings shortly before 3pm.
Marshall has scored eight fours so far and will have his sights set on three figures when he resumes tomorrow morning. But Gloucestershire skipper Alex Gidman missed out, falling lbw on eight to Topley, who now has figures of three for 70.