Bopara breaks Essex's duck

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Ravi Bopara

An unbeaten century from Ravi Bopara steered Essex to a six-wicket win as they chased down 360 against Glamorgan

An unbeaten century from Ravi Bopara, who shared a partnership of 217 with Matt Walker, carried Essex to a superb six-wicket triumph over Glamorgan at Chelmsford.

It was their first championship victory of the campaign and came after they had started the final day on 34 for one in pursuit of a formidable target of 360.

Bopara and Walker joined forces after Alastair Cook departed for a fluent 79 with the total on 123, and rarely looked in difficulty before Walker was dismissed just three short of his hundred.

The fourth-wicket pair drove and cut with infinite ease as Essex registered a victory which lifts them off the foot of Division Two.

Bopara moved to his century from 181 deliveries with the aid of 13 boundaries, and by the time the winning post was reached he had added a further four in his final contribution of 136.

Walker's 97 included 13 fours and it was while attempting another to move into three figures that he was caught at deep midwicket by Will Bragg to give the toiling Dean Cosker his second wicket.

By then Essex were only 21 short of their objective but Walker had the consolation of figuring in a new Essex fourth-wicket record stand against Glamorgan, surpassing the 200 featuring Ken McEwan and Keith Pont at Leyton in 1975.

Just before lunch it looked as though the match had swung back in Glamorgan's favour with the removal of Cook.

The England opener produced some punishing strokes either side of the wicket and was in such control that it came as a surprise when he flicked at a ball from Adam Shantry down the leg side to give wicketkeeper Mark Wallace a simple catch.

Cook's effort contained 14 fours and his dismissal came after Cosker had trapped Jaik Mickleburgh lbw in his first over of the day with the total on 73.

The left-arm spinner bowled 27 overs interrupted only by lunch before he was removed from the attack. In total he sent down 40 overs in picking up two wickets at a cost of 108.

Essex collected 21 points for their first championship victory in 10 matches stretching back to the beginning of last July, while Glamorgan took five.

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