Bopara ton dominates Glamorgan
Ravi Bopara struck his first century of the season to put Essex in a strong position on the second day of their LV= County Championship Division Two clash with Glamorgan at the SWALEC Stadium.
Bopara, who returned to Essex whites after being on England Lions duty against the New Zealanders last week, was dismissed shortly before the close for 145 of what became 343 for nine - giving the visitors a first-innings lead of 112.
He batted for over six hours, having faced 264 balls with 19 fours and a six, in what was his 23rd first-class century.
The standout for Glamorgan was Australian paceman Michael Hogan, who recorded figures of 5-68.
Having had a difficult seven overs to survive on the first evening, Essex had begun the day on 10 for two in reply to Glamorgan's 231 all out.
After a patient start, they lost Jaik Mickleburgh in the eighth over of the day when seamer Hogan carried on his good work from the previous night by removing the opener leg before to take his figures to 3-3.
Essex were in some trouble at 25 for three, but Bopara and Mark Pettini dug in before lunch to complete a 50-run partnership in 19 overs and take their side to 85 at the break.
After lunch, the impressive Hogan picked up his fourth wicket to have Pettini well caught one-handed by Stewart Walters at second slip, leaving Essex 86 for four.
But Bopara found more useful support from Ben Foakes, putting on 83 for the fifth wicket.
The England Under-19 batsman batted well for his 38 before edging slow left-armer Dean Cosker to slip where Jim Allenby took a good catch diving forward.
Bopara survived a confident lbw appeal from Allenby on 74 but Glamorgan got another breakthrough in the penultimate over before tea, Michael Reed having Greg Smith caught behind.
Bopara's patient, four-hour-49-minute century came from 204 balls with 14 fours and coincided with Essex wiping out the first-innings deficit.
Glamorgan finally broke the seventh-wicket stand, which was worth 91 in 30 overs, when Reed had James Foster well caught by wicketkeeper Mark Wallace.
Five overs later, Bopara's impressive innings came to an end when he was bowled attempting to pull Graham Wagg.
And, in the next set of six, Tim Phillips was trapped leg before by Allenby before Graham Napier contributed an unbeaten 41 from 48 balls by the close.