Bopara ton punishes Glamorgan
Essex 343 for 9 (Bopara 145, Hogan 5-68) lead Glamorgan 231 by 112 runs
Ravi Bopara struck his first century of the season to put Essex in a strong position on the second day of their Championship Division Two clash with Glamorgan.
Bopara, who returned to Essex colours after being on England Lions duty against New Zealand last week, was dismissed shortly before the close for 145 out of 343 for 9 - giving the visitors an overall lead of 112. He batted for over six hours and 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 for 65.
Having had a difficult seven overs to survive on the first evening, Essex had resumed their first innings on day two 10 for 2 in reply to Glamorgan's 231 all out. After a patient start, Essex lost Jaik Mickleburgh in the eighth over of the day, when Hogan carried on his good work from the previous evening removed the opener leg-before to take his figures to 3 for 3.
Essex were in some trouble at 25 for 3, but Bopara and Mark Pettini dug in before lunch to complete a 50-run partnership in 19 overs and take their side to 85 for 3 at the break. After lunch the impressive Hogan picked up his fourth wicket, Pettini well caught one-handed by Stewart Walters at second slip with only one run added.
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 having Greg Smith caught behind. Bopara's patient 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 Mike Reed had James Foster well caught by wicketkeeper Mark Wallace.
Five overs before the close Bopara's impressive innings came to an end when he was bowled attempting to pull Graham Wagg. And in the next over Tim Phillips was trapped leg-before by Allenby but Graham Napier had contributed an unbeaten 41 from 48 balls by the close to extend Essex's lead.