Essex v Warwickshire: Ravi Bopara & James Foster make Bears suffer
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Cloudfm County Ground (day two):|
|Essex 541-9 dec: Bopara 192, Foster 121, Browne 84; Patel 4-138|
|Warwickshire 60-2 (26 overs): Westwood 22, Trott 15*|
|Warwickshire trail Essex by 481 runs with eight wickets remaining|
|Essex 3 pts, Warwickshire 1 pt|
Ravi Bopara and James Foster both completed centuries in a sixth-wicket stand of 229 as Essex amassed a season's best total before declaring against Warwickshire.
Bopara made 192, his third-highest first-class score, and his first century in three years, as Essex finally called a halt on 541-9.
Foster survived being hit on the helmet by Boyd Rankin to reach 121.
Bopara then ran out Andy Umeed as the Bears reached 60-2 by the close.
Ian Westwood followed for 22 to leave the Bears still needing a further 232 runs to avoid the risk of being asked to follow-on.
Resuming on their overnight 263-5, Bopara and Foster were together from late in Monday's third session until just before the tea interval on day two.
Foster, making only his third County Championship appearance of the season, had to receive medical attention after being struck on the front of his helmet grille by a Rankin bouncer.
But, when within 24 of Essex's sixth-wicket record set six years ago on the same ground against Northants in partnership with Adam Wheater, he smashed a towering six over long leg off Sunny Singh before giving a catch to a tumbling Keith Barker at wide mid-on off Jonathan Trott.
It was slow going once again in the still sweltering conditions, as Essex claimed their third batting point with only an over to spare, leaving the Bears with just one bowling point.
Essex wicketkeeper James Foster told BBC Radio Essex:
"I wasn't really expecting to play any cricket this year. It was obviously disappointing not to start the season, but I've been busy helping out the club with the team's preparations on the coaching side without just rotting away, so to speak.
"They know I've been practising and playing second-team cricket and working hard. I've tried to be of use and of help. I got an opportunity to play, with Wheats (Adam Wheater) getting injured in the four-day stuff and I'm literally just trying to enjoy maybe one last cough.
"It was probably quite an important part of the game when we got together. On that first day they kept us down to 2.6 an over, so it was important to stick it out.
"Everyone is thrilled for Ravi. He's deserved it. He's worked as hard as anyone. Even now he probably works as hard as he did in his early twenties."
Warwickshire first-team coach Jim Troughton told BBC WM:
"It was a really hot day and everyone stuck together in the field and put in a shift. To walk off without any kind of result was disappointing. One more wicket would have been very nice. But they batted well and that's what happens.
"Jimmy Adams and Sean Ervine did that to us at Southampton. The pleasing thing for me is we're not 50-6, with tired legs and tired minds at the end of what has been a long 160 overs.
"We looked very comfortable at 30-odd for no wicket and then we had that run-out between the two of them. But these things we've got to learn fast. He's not going to get many runs if he keeps getting run out.
"It looks as if Harmer is going to get some turn. He did to the left-handers. We've just to make sure we play him well. We'll look to get ourselves prepared in the nets and whatever they've got to throw at us."