Essex batsmen enjoy themselves

PUBLISHED: 10:00 05 April 2016

The 2016 first-class cricket season is underway (pic: Jonathan Brady/PA)

The 2016 first-class cricket season is underway (pic: Jonathan Brady/PA)

PA/Press Association Images

Quartet hit fifties against Middlesex

Essex's Ravi Bopara (pic: Nigel French/PA)Essex's Ravi Bopara (pic: Nigel French/PA)

Ravi Bopara, Nick Browne, Dan Lawrence and Tom Westley all hit half-centuries as Essex piled up 370-7 against Middlesex on the first day of their friendly at the County Ground.

Bopara hit four sixes and 17 fours in his 93 and put on 102 for the fourth wicket with former Trinity High School pupil Lawrence.

But England Test captain Alastair Cook faced just 14 balls, scoring four runs, before edging Steven Finn behind to first slip.

South Woodford’s Browne and Westley, who hit 53 from 68 balls, took the total to 103 before Finn struck again to remove both of them.

Left-hander Browne was caught at second slip for 52, but Bopara and Lawrence combined to good effect.

Lawrence made 53, with Jesse Ryder adding a quick 18, before Bopara fell in sight of a century.

Captain Ryan ten Doeschate and James Foster shared a 63-run stand in 24 overs, before the Dutchman was trapped leg before by spinner Ollie Rayner.

But Foster was unbeaten on 38 at the close, alongside David Masters, and play resumes at 11am today (Tuesday).

Entry is free to the public and the two sides are due to meet in a Twenty20 fixture on Wednesday as they continue their preparations for the new county championship season.

Essex: Alastair Cook, Nick Browne, Tom Westley, Ravi Bopara, Dan Lawrence, Jesse Ryder, Ryan ten Doeschate (c), ames Foster (wk), David Masters, Jamie Porter, Matt Dixon.

Middlesex: Sam Robson, Nick Gubbins, Paul Stirling, Dawid Malan, John Simpson (wk), James Franklin (c), Ollie Rayner, Toby Roland-Jones, James Harris, James Fuller, Tim Murtagh.

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