Chopra and Chanderpaul boost Warwickshire title bid
|LV County Championship Division One, The Rose Bowl|
|Close, day one: Warwickshire 296-3 v Hampshire|
|Warwicks 2pts, Hampshire 1pt|
Varun Chopra and Shivnarine Chanderpaul both hit centuries as title-chasing Warwickshire dominated day one against relegation-threatened Hampshire.
The pair put on 188 for the third wicket before Chopra fell just before the close for 109.
But Chanderpaul will resume on 107, his third ton in seven innings for the Bears, with his side 296-3.
Hampshire, who must win to stand a chance of beating the drop, were not helped by dropping five catches.
Chopra passed three figures for the first time since opening the season with two double hundreds in April against a Hampshire team looking bereft of ideas. But the writing was on the wall early when a diving Michael Carberry put him down on two at third slip off the bowling of James Tomlinson.
The left-armer was rewarded for a probing opening spell shortly afterwards when Ian Westwood fenced at a short, wide delivery and was pouched in the gully by James Vince. And new batsman Will Porterfield was fortunate to survive even to lunch as the left-hander was twice put down, on nought and one respectively.
Neither was simple, Vince grassing a ball on the dive in the gully, while there was a difficult low return catch offered to Chris Wood.
Hampshire then continued to contribute to their own downfall when Porterfield was dropped for a third time by Liam Dawson at second slip off the bowling of Tomlinson - shortly after lunch.
The host were not made to pay for their error, the Irish skipper being trapped in front by Dimitri Mascarenhas in the very next over for 28.
But, for the rest of the afternoon, it was complete domination by the visiting batsmen as Chopra and Chanderpaul, on a flat wicket, carefully milked the home side to maintain a steady scoring rate.
Hampshire's abysmal day in the field was summed up when Chanderpaul was given a life on 36, Carberry again spilling a straightforward opportunity off the bowling of Sean Ervine.
And, although Mascarenhas finally ended Chopra's long stay, the day belonged to Warwickshire, now in pole position to capture their first title since 2004.