Openers halt Essex progress

Essex were made to wait more than five-and-a-half hours before they collected the first of the 17 bonus points they need to guarantee promotion to the First Division of the County Championship.

Essex were made to wait more than five-and-a-half hours before they collected the first of the 17 bonus points they need to guarantee promotion to the First Division of the County Championship.

Having won the toss and invited Warwickshire to bat it was not unreasonable to expect the bowlers to produce the goods. As things turned out though, Warwickshire had the Essex bowlers tearing their hair out.

Centuries by openers Mark Wagh and Michael Powell, put Warwickshire in charge.

The day had begun promisingly for Essex, Mark Ilott's opening over had Wagh well beaten on a couple of occasions and for a dozen overs after that the Essex bowling and fielding was tight. But gradually the batsmen took charge, riding their luck.

Powell, on 26, edged wide of first slip, Wagh, on 18, was dropped by Stuart Law at second slip and reached his fifty after lunch with another edgy shot that went close enough for Law to have taken it, except the fielder did not move until the ball had sailed past him.

The boundary which took Powell to 63 made him the 10th England-qualified batsmen to reach 1,000 first-class runs for the season, his first time to that mark.

He reached the fifth hundred of his career with a pulled shot off Anderson after nearly four hours, then perished foolishly two overs later, run out backing up. That was shortly after Wagh had reached three figures, with the help of a couple of sixes in one over off Peter Such.

By then the pair's joint effort of 230 had established a record opening stand for Warwickshire against Essex.

Wagh eventually top-edged an attempted lap shot off Such, who had a satisfactory day at the office with three wickets.

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