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Page last updated at 17:43 GMT, Tuesday, 20 July 2010 18:43 UK

Ravi Bopara century puts Essex on top against Yorkshire

Essex 353-6 Yorkshire
Essex 4pts Yorkshire 2pts
Match scorecard

Ravi Bopara
Bopara's century was his highest score in the championship this season

In-form Ravi Bopara underlined his case for an England Test recall by scoring a superb century against championship leaders Yorkshire.

The 25-year-old batting all-rounder helped Essex recover after losing three quick wickets before lunch, including England opener Alastair Cook for 44.

Bopara was at his fluent best, hitting 19 fours in going to 142 before being caught by Adil Rashid off Tino Best.

With captain James Foster hitting 61, Essex closed on 345-6.

With the opening Test against Pakistan just over a week away, and Ian Bell now sidelined with a foot injury, the 25-year-old Bopara's innings was perfectly timed.

He never looked in the slightest trouble in completing his first championship hundred of the season, having struck half-centuries in his previous two outings, before a mistimed hook against paceman Best ended up in the hands of Rashid at square leg.

But while Bopara was making hay, Cook failed to capitalise on the conditions, slashing at a wide delivery from Steve Patterson to give wicketkeeper Gerard Brophy an easy catch.

Cook's dismissal came in the over following the departure of Jaik Mickleburgh, who contributed 38 out of an opening stand of 97 before he was bowled by leg-spinner Rashid.

When Tom Westley fell leg before to Patterson it meant Essex had lost three wickets in seven overs, but Bopara and Matt Walker were to retrieve the situation by adding 80 in 29 overs before the latter was well caught low down at deep mid-wicket by Jonathan Bairstow for 26 to give Rashid another success.

Walker's exit only signalled the arrival of James Foster to join Bopara in the most productive partnership of the day. They added 124 in 26 overs, before Oliver Hannon-Dalby had Foster caught at deep square leg by Patterson.

Yorkshire used six bowlers in their toiling attempts to make progress, the most successful being Rashid and Patterson who have so far picked up two wickets each.

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