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Page last updated at 17:24 GMT, Thursday, 20 August 2009 18:24 UK

Bopara inspires Essex fightback

CLOSE OF PLAY, DAY TWO: Surrey 428 Essex 221-3
(Essex 4pts, Surrey 6pts)
19-22 August 2009

Ravi Bopara
Bopara was dropped by England for the final Ashes Test

England reject Ravi Bopara rediscovered his form with an unbeaten 83 to lead the Essex fightback against Surrey.

Bopara hit nine boundaries and shared an unbroken 84 for the fourth wicket with captain Mark Pettini as Essex closed day two at Colchester on 221-3.

They remain 207 behind Surrey, who were eventually bowled out for 428.

Chris Schofield completed his maiden first-class century before falling for 144, while Stuart Meaker hit a career-best 72.

The Surrey pair had resumed on 304-6, with Schofield unbeaten on 87 and Meaker 22 not out, having already beaten his previous best score of 16 on the first evening.

The closest Schofield had previously come to a century was making 99, but he finally reached three figures for the first time in his career with a fine off-drive for four off Chris Wright.

It was his 19th boundary and he hit three more before he was caught behind off Ryan ten Doeschate to end a seventh-wicket stand of 125 with Meaker, who went on to make 72 before being last out.

Attention then turned to Bopara, who saw both of his side's openers John Maunders and Tom Westley get into the 30s before getting out.

Westley was first to go, caught behind off Pedro Collins, before Schofield trapped Maunders leg before.

But Bopara, who lost his England place for the final and decisive Ashes Test after a string of poor scores, battled hard to rediscover his touch and played the anchor role after Matt Walker was third out, caught down the leg side off Meaker.

He was far from his fluent best, but hit nine boundaries in his 120-ball innings to close in on a welcome century.

And he and Pettini, who finished the day unbeaten on 33, saw Essex through to the close, leaving them needing another 58 to avoid the follow-on.

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