Nick Browne and Ravi Bopara score well in the heat for Essex
- Credit: PA
Nick Browne and Ravi Bopara posted their highest scores in this season’s Specsavers County Championship as Essex reached 263 for five against Warwickshire in the Chelmsford heat.
Browne batted for five hours 12 minutes in grinding out a 244-ball 84, while Bopara gave his partner a 160-minute lead yet was within only 13 runs of him when Browne departed. The former England man closed on an unbeaten 84.
The pair were together for 42 overs in the middle of a cloudless day, sharing in a 127-run stand for the fourth wicket which helped Essex to reach 263 for five at the end of the opening day of the Division One contest.
Browne’s innings was largely uneventful as he passed the 77 he scored in the second innings against Surrey 10 days ago. In contrast, Bopara looked more dynamic in overhauling the 64 he recorded in the first innings at Guildford. That Essex managed just 263 runs from a full 96-over day highlights what a day for painstaking run-scoring it was.
The first 50 came up in the 23rd over, the score was 100 for three in the 46th and 150 for three in the 59th. It was just 217 for three when the new ball was taken (80 overs).
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Rikki Clarke took two quick wickets with the second cherry to peg Essex when they were threatening to build a huge total and inflict a fourth innings defeat of the season on the visitors.
Essex were obdurate from the start after electing to bat on the same strip which saw 743 runs and 10 wickets in Friday’s Royal London Cup semi-final.
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With the final ball of Jeetan Patel’s third over, Alastair Cook thrust a leg down the wicket to kill the spin and was rapped on the pad, ending his contribution to a first-wicket stand.
Cook had been the more forthright of the openers – Browne took 47 balls to reach double-figures – and started the scoreboard moving from the 23rd ball of the day with a glorious off-drive for four. When the former England captain was out for 39 from 64 balls, he had added another three boundaries.
Tom Westley had just swept Patel for four when he played forward and got a decisive edge to be held at slip by Clarke.
Varun Chopra was then bowled for 14 after leaving a straightish Boyd Rankin delivery, before Browne reached his half-century from 161 balls.
Bopara took advantage of a full-toss by Singh to go past his previous highest Championship score of the season, before Browne’s innings ended when he was beaten for pace by Clarke and was bowled.