London: 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.
"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 their home season is against Sri Lanka at Headingley, starting on May 19, as they return to the five-day game after the team, captained by Eoin Morgan, suffered a painful defeat in the recent Twenty20 final against the West Indies.