Centuries from Vijay and Westley lead Essex to win over Nottinghamshire
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Murali Vijay led Essex to their fifth victory of the Specsavers County Championship season, compiling a high-quality century against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
The Indian Test opener, who played in the first two matches of the recent series against England, followed up his first innings score of 56 with a match-winning contribution of exactly 100.
Vijay scored his runs from 181 balls and shared in a second wicket stand of 204 with Tom Westley, who finished with an unbeaten 110.
Set to score 282 for the win, the visitors reached their target just before lunch to complete a comfortable eight-wicket victory.
Essex began the final day in a strong position, on 147 for one, requiring only 135 more. Vijay, who resumed on 73, was watchful for half an hour before picking off Luke Fletcher for a trio of leg-side pulled boundaries to burst into the 90s.
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A scampered single from Luke Wood’s bowling took the 34-year old to his 25th first class hundred, made from 173 balls.
His feat matched that of Hashim Amla, who scored 181 against Glamorgan in 2009, as the last Essex batsman to score a century on his county debut.
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With only 61 runs required Samit Patel eventually made the breakthrough, bowling Vijay off an inside edge.
Westley’s 50 had come from 101 deliveries and his only alarm had come when Dan Lawrence called him for a risky single to get off the pair; Lyndon James’ throw narrowly missing, with Westley not in the frame.
Lawrence accelerated his side towards the finishing line but left it to his partner to stroke the winning runs through the off-side to seal Essex’s first championship win at Trent Bridge since 2003.
Essex skipper Ryan ten Doeschate said: “To chase a big target like that is a very rewarding result and critical at this time of the season from the position we’ve found ourselves in, in the table.
“We didn’t want to chase anything over 300, so when Simon (Harmer) came on after lunch yesterday he really turned the game.”
“The manner Murali has gone about his business in this game – in the first innings it was tough and he managed to grind out a fifty – and then in the big chase you want the top three to score runs and he did it with his hundred. He’s easy on the eye and showed the quality he possesses.”