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March 24, 2013
Warwickshire 370 for 3 (Chopra 163, Porterfield 162) v MCC
The annexing of the Champion County match to the Emirates has marginalised its use as a proper warm-up for the County Championship but Varun Chopra and Will Porterfield will take confidence from a pair of centuries on the official opening day of the new season.
The fixture will return to Lord's in 2014 where a stand of 308 will be trickier to compile than the four-an-over stand Chopra and Porterfield put together for the second wicket this year.
Porterfield's innings, from 240 balls, was his first three-figure effort since joining Warwickshire, taking full advantage of a flat pitch and an attack toiling in temperatures more than 20 degrees warmer than Britain.
Chopra had been the first to reach a century, his 11th in first-class cricket, from 165 balls. He went on to score 20 fours and three sixes - the pick of which was lifted over long on from a Peter Trego slower ball.
"It was a great start to the season for me," Chopra said. "The wicket was good and we made the most of winning the toss on a decent deck. 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."
The treble century stand was by some distance the highest partnership of any wicket for Warwickshire against MCC. It came after Ian Westwood fell without a run on the board. He skied a pull from Trego and was taken at midwicket. But that was the most joy MCC enjoyed as their spin trio of Simon Kerrigan, James Middlebrook and part-time leg-spinner Dawid Malan failed to find any control as runs flowed merrily.
Kerrigan eventually broke through when Chopra mistimed an attempted lofted off drive. Porterfield also fell playing in the air, driving loosely on the up to hand third seamer Chris Rushworth a wicket. But it was 102 runs later than it should have been; Rushworth having had Porterfield dropped in the slips on 60.
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