Champions dominate in Abu Dhabi
Varun Chopra and Will Porterfield compiled centuries as Warwickshire piled on the runs against MCC in the Champion County fixture at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
The 2012 Division One winners lost Ian Westwood without a run on the board after choosing to bat in this day/night fixture, which is scheduled to run until Wednesday.
However, Chopra and Porterfield seized control thereafter, progressing swiftly in a mammoth 308-run stand on a flat surface that provided good value for strokes.
They were eventually ousted for 163 and 162 respectively, yet Laurie Evans and Jim Troughton, unbeaten on 15 and eight, took their side to the close on an imperious 370 for three.
"It was a great start to the season for me; the wicket was good, and we made the most of winning the toss on a decent deck,” said Chopra.
“Playing under the floodlights and with the pink ball was fine. Having two set batsmen definitely helped, especially during the twilight period, which can be a challenge, but I really enjoyed it out there today.”
MCC got off to a dream start as Westwood departed to a top-edged pull off Peter Trego, but skipper Dale Benkenstein was soon left scratching his head.
As MCC’s spin trio - Simon Kerrigan, James Middlebrook and part-time leg-spinner Dawid Malan - struggled to make an impression following a cagey start, Warwickshire’s second-wicket pair were able to gradually raise the tempo either side of lunch.
Chopra, typically strong square of the wicket and quick to dispatch anything loose, was the first to three figures - from 165 deliveries - and his partner followed suit soon after, bringing up his hundred off three fewer balls.
Reaching a maiden first-class ton for Warwickshire was particularly enjoyable for the Porterfield, who will be hoping to add more over the remainder of the campaign.
The Ireland skipper did receive a life on 60 when he was dropped in the slips off Chris Rushworth, who proved economical. However, the left-hander was largely untroubled as he combined solid defence with sporadic displays of aggression.
Porterfield eventually departed soon after his partner, cover-driving Rushworth straight to Kerrigan, who earlier had Chopra taken by Steve Kirby at mid-on.
Yet even those breakthroughs could not brighten MCC’s day as Warwickshire reached the close without further alarm.