Westley’s 238 puts Essex in firm control

PUBLISHED: 18:30 01 September 2016 | UPDATED: 18:30 01 September 2016

Essex's Ravi Bopara (left) congratulates Tom Westley on reaching his century (pic: PA)

Essex's Ravi Bopara (left) congratulates Tom Westley on reaching his century (pic: PA)

PA/Press Association Images

Division Two leaders put Worcestershire to the sword

Tom Westley hit the first double century of his career, while Ravi Bopara fell for 99, as Essex batted themselves into a position of great strength on day two of their Specsavers County Championship match with Worcestershire at Chelmsford.

Westley was unbeaten on 238, having scored 180 runs in the day, as the Division Two leaders closed on 512-4, a lead of 282.

And the home side will be looking to wrap up another convincing victory over the course of the next two days as they aim to maintain their push for the sole promotion spot this season.

Essex resumed on 111-1, with Westley on 58, and Alastair Cook reached his own half-century from 81 balls with his ninth boundary.

The second-wicket pair brought up their 150-run partnership in 37 overs, but Cook then departed for 66 as he edged Ed Barnard to Ross Whiteley at first slip.

Ravi Bopara hit successive boundaries early in his innings and was unbeaten on 29 at lunch, with Westley 98 not out and Essex just 25 runs in arrears on 205-2.

And Westley brought up his hundred with a drive through the covers for four soon after the restart, having faced 182 deliveries and hit 18 fours.

Bopara cut the ball to the boundary to take Essex past Worcestershire’s first innings total and then produced a cover drive for four to reach his half-century from 89 balls, with a six and nine fours.

The third-wicket pair brought up their century stand in 34 overs as the visitors began to toil in the field, and kept the pressure on as Westley brought up his 150 to help extend the lead close to three figures.

Essex went to tea in a commanding position at 351-2, with Westley unbeaten on 173 and Bopara on 89, a lead of 121.

And the 200-run stand came up early in the final session, before Bopara fell one run short of his first championship century in two years.

Pushing forward to Jack Shantry, Bopara edged to Whiteley at slip to end a 213-run partnership with Westley, who then saw Dan Lawrence fall for just a single caught at backword point by Brett D’Oliveira off the bowling of Joe Leach.

Worcestershire’s joy at that double strike was shortlived, however, as Essex captain nRyan ten Doeschate joined Westley in a stunning fifth-wicket stand.

Westley moved to the first double century of his career fromm 319 balls, having hit 33 fours, as ten Doeschate got stuck into the ailing visiting attack.

The home side moved to 466-4 with 10 overs still remaining in the day, a lead of 236, and ten Doeschate brought up his half-century from just 52 deliveries, with six fours.

The 500 then came up with three overs still to be bowled and Essex added another dozen runs to their total before stumps were drawn with Westley still standing on 238, having faced 361 balls and hit 37 fours, and ten Doeschate unbeaten on 77 from 84 balls alongside him.

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