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Page last updated at 17:21 GMT, Thursday, 14 April 2011 18:21 UK

Varun Chopra ton puts Warwickshire in control

Close, day one: Warwickshire 416-6 v Somerset
Warwicks 5pts, Somerset 2pts
Match scorecard

Varun Chopra
Chopra made only 409 Championship runs for Warwickshire last summer

Varun Chopra hit a career-best 174 not out as Warwickshire dominated the opening day of their clash with Somerset at Taunton.

Chopra, whose previous best score for the Bears was 54, shared 155 for the third wicket with Darren Maddy (67).

Ireland captain William Porterfield (45) and Tim Ambrose (40) also contributed as Warwickshire closed on 416-6 to secure maximum batting points.

Charl Willoughby (3-73) was the pick of the bowlers as Somerset toiled.

Home captain Marcus Trescothick would have hoped for more from his side after winning the toss and electing to field, especially after deubtant Gemaal Hussain had Ian Westwood caught at gully by Arul Suppiah early on.

But Chopra and Porterfield added 89 for the second wicket to ease the Bears' nerves, only for Porterfield, who joined Warwickshire from Gloucestershire in the winter, to clip Willoughby to Nick Compton at square leg shortly before lunch.

As Sri Lankan spinner Ajantha Mendis struggled for rhythm, Chopra and Maddy continued relatively untroubled, although both survived scares.

Chopra was spilled at mid-on off a Steve Kirby no-ball, while Maddy was missed at slip off Mendis, before the former Essex batsman brought up the third Championship century of his career, from 173 balls with 14 fours and two sixes, by pushing a single into the off-side.

His partnership with Maddy was ended when the experienced former Leicestershire man was bowled around his legs by Mendis.

New Bears captain Jim Troughton and Rikki Clarke soon followed as Warwickshire went to tea on 276-5, but Chopra found a new ally in Tim Ambrose, who helped him add 96 for the sixth wicket before edging Willoughby through to Craig Kieswetter.

Chropa, whose previous best was 155 for Essex at Bristol in 2008, brought up the 400 with a single off Kirby to give Warwickshire maximum batting points for the first time since September 2009 as he and Chris Woakes put on an unbeaten 29 before the close.

BBC Coventry & Warwickshire's Clive Eakin reflects on day one at Taunton:
"After last season it made a pleasent change to talk to happy Warwickshire supporters at lunch on a morning when the Bears had batted first. No bemoaning another batting collapse this time. And the good vibes continued right through the day.

"Varun Chopra always had a lot to live up to after joining the county as a frustrated opener from Essex - the last player to do that was Nick Knight. But after a first season of unfulfilled promise Chopra has earned rave reviews for his pre-season form and has brought that into the opening day of the campaign. It's been a well measured and at times entertaining innings.

"With winter signing Will Porterfield and old Bears stagers Darren Maddy and Tim Ambrose contributing, it's already looking like this will be a better season for the batsmen.

"Who's winning? Warwickshire, but this is Taunton so taking Somerset wickets when the home side gets to bat won't be easy."

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