Friday 16 March 2007 

Chopra And Foster Hit Tons In Latest Tour Win

Essex beat Fly Emirates by 255 runs to register the second win of their tour of Dubai and Abu Dhabi at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday.

Stand-in Captain Alastair Cook, deputising for the rested Ronnie Irani, opted to make first use of the pitch in the 45-overs-per-side day/night match.

After Cook departed for 41, fellow opener Varun Chopra and number three James Foster both hit centuries to build a solid base for a large Essex total.

In reply, Fly Emirates never threatened an upset with Graham Napier (4-16) the pick of the bowlers.

Irani, Andy Flower, Alex Tudor and Darren Thomas were omitted from Essex’s 15-man touring party. Thomas, who is yet to feature, is struggling with a sore shoulder but is hoping to be fit in time for Saturday’s match against Abu Dhabi President’s XI.

Tom Westley, Chopra and Napier made their first appearance of the trip.

Essex Coach Paul Grayson commented to the Essex CCC website (www.essexcricket.org.uk) after the match:

“On a good pitch to bat on Varun Chopra gave us the perfect platform before James Foster came in and also played very nicely. Graham Napier had been struggling with an elbow injury earlier in the trip so it was good to see him come back into the side and produce a good performance with the ball.”

Speaking about the tour so far, skipper Ronnie Irani told the Essex CCC website:

“I was very sceptical before coming out here but I’ve been so impressed by Dubai and the cricket facilities it offers. Most of the squad have now been given a run out and scored runs or taken wickets so preparations are going nicely. Playing conditions have been perfect and the opposition has been much better than on previous overseas tours – particularly in the first match.”

Scorecard

Essex v Fly Emirates at Sharjah Cricket Stadium (2pm start local time, 10am BST).

Essex won the toss and elected to bat

Essex 343-5 off 45 overs

(Cook 41, Chopra 100, Foster 103, Middlebrook 25, Grant Flower 3, Phillips 33 not out, Westley 15 not out)

Fly Emirates 88 all out off 24.4 overs

(Palladino 1-32 off 5 overs, Westfield 1-10 off 4 overs, Napier 4-16 off 7 overs, Phillips 2-15 off 5 overs, Grant Flower 1-10 off 2.4 overs, Middlebrook 0-2 off 1 over)

Essex won by 255 runs

Essex team

Alastair Cook (Captain)

Varun Chopra

Mark Pettini

Grant Flower

Tom Westley

James Foster

James Middlebrook

Tim Phillips

Graham Napier

Mervyn Westfield

Tony Palladino