Rob Keogh’s superb century frustrates Essex at Wantage Road
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Northamptonshire claimed their first batting bonus point at home this summer as the 31-year-old hit boundaries all around the ground to close day one of this County Championship match on 279-6.

Keogh batted with a sense of freedom, attacking positively, but timing the ball to perfection.

As Essex bowled short, he hooked and pulled the ball away to the ropes, hitting 23 fours and four sixes off the backfoot.

Along the way, he reached milestones such as scoring 6,000 first-class runs and becoming Northamptonshire’s leading run-scorer in the Championship. His 116 in April’s opener against Kent neatly bookends his season.

In exactly 25 overs, Keogh shared a stand of 107 with Saif Zaib (28) after Jamie Porter had struck twice with plenty of movement outside off-stump.

To reduce Northamptonshire to 23-2, Essex won the toss and decided to field. Sam Cook and Porter each took a wicket.

Azad reached 32, scoring five streaky boundaries behind square on both sides of the wicket, before middling one through backward point. As a result, Simon Harmer’s second delivery earned the breakthrough, an arm ball that trapped Azad lbw.

Despite playing two good shots and hitting a well-timed on-drive against Porter, Karun Nair departed for 21 off an inside edge to his stumps against the same bowler, leaving the hosts 95-4.

Keogh then took charge against Porter, driving through midwicket and extra cover, pulling over midwicket and guiding him off the back foot to bring up Northamptonshire’s century.