Essex v Warwickshire: Ravi Bopara and Nick Browne give hosts the edge at Chelmsford

Ravi Bopara
Ravi Bopara passed 50 for the third time in the County Championship this season
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Cloudfm County Ground:
Essex 263-5: Bopara 84*, Browne 84; Clarke 2-41, Patel 2-68
Warwickshire: Yet to bat
Essex 2 pts, Warwickshire 1 pt
Scorecard

Ravi Bopara made his highest County Championship score of the season and Nick Browne also hit a half-century as Division One leaders Essex edged day one against bottom club Warwickshire.

After opting to bat at sun-baked Chelmsford, Essex were 96-3 after the loss of Alastair Cook and Tom Westley.

Both fell to New Zealand off-spinner Jeetan Patel before former Bears batsman Varun Chopra followed cheaply.

But Browne made 84, matched by Bopara's 84 not out as Essex closed on 263-5.

The pair shared a 127-run fourth wicket stand which helped Essex end the day in a better position, the excellent Bopara having so far put on a further 36 for the sixth wicket with James Foster (13 not out) .

On his first meeting with the Bears since opting to return to Chelmsford late last season, unbeaten leaders Essex had Chopra making only his second start of season, having so far been kept out by former England Test captain Cook.

Warwickshire also made a change, bringing back Patel after two weeks with New Zealand at the Champions Trophy.

Without injured young seamer Grant Thornton, that allowed them to play two spinners as Sunny Singh kept his place.

Patel was on inside the first half hour as the Bears, beaten by an innings in three of this season's first five matches, made a reasonable first-day bid to maintain their five-game unbeaten run against Essex.

Essex's Ravi Bopara told BBC Radio Essex:

"I've got three 90s in the last 12 months, a couple of 99s as well. I always have a sleepless night if I'm not out overnight. I always really struggle to sleep. Hopefully I'll be exhausted from the heat.

"I went through a period where I was trying to be a technician - and I'm not a technician. I need to play my shots. That's the best way for me.

"It was an attempt to go one step higher in my game. It was just trying to see what I could do better, get my technique better, but I messed around with it and I should have just stayed positive because that is the best way for me."

Warwickshire all-rounder Rikki Clarke told BBC WM:

"The wicket wasn't really responsive. It was a pretty decent pitch. It's all about patience. Browne had to be patient with his innings and we had to be patient with the ball.

"Chops was like he wanted someone to say 'unlucky' to him. It's like that when you play against ex-team-mates. It's always difficult for them to come in - they're on a hiding to nothing really.

"For us, it was just a case of sticking to our discipline and skills and put the ball in the right area - and that's what we did all day. We just set out to bash away at good line and length."

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