Essex close in on victory as Nottinghamshire continue to struggle

Ravi Bopara hit a century for Essex.Ravi Bopara hit a century for Essex.
Ravi Bopara hit a century for Essex.
Essex have moved closer to a third consecutive victory after another day of dominance in their Specsavers County Championship match against over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

Centuries from Nick Browne and Ravi Bopara helped the 2017 county champions towards a hefty first innings score of 519 for nine declared, leaving Notts with more than four sessions to try and wipe out a deficit of 306.

Batting for a second time, Notts stumbled to 100 for five at the close, still 206 runs away from making the visitors bat again.

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Resuming from their overnight position of 345 for three, the visitors soon lost the glue that had held their innings together.

Browne, having batted for more than seven and a half hours, departed to the fifth ball of the morning, trapped lbw by Stuart Broad without adding to his patiently-compiled 163.

Ryan ten Doeschate, the Essex captain, made 22 from 34 balls, but was also given out lbw by umpire Taylor, once Ravi Ashwin had replaced Broad.

Ashwin also struck the pads to send back Adam Wheater, attempting a sweep on 23.

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Simon Harmer made 20 before feathering Broad behind and the punchy Peter Siddle clubbed two sixes in his quickfire 33.

Bopara, who had resumed his innings on 62, eased impressively through to the 31st first class hundred of his career, reaching the landmark from 184 balls, with nine fours.

The former England international eventually fell for 135 when looking to accelerate. He hoisted Jake Ball high into the leg-side, where Broad took an outstanding one-handed diving catch on the boundary.

Broad, with three for 75 from his 33 overs, and Ravi Ashwin, each picked up three wickets in the mammoth Essex effort, which spanned 167.4 overs.

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Ashwin (3-162) got through 60 of those overs, exactly matching Samit Patel’s feat against Durham in 2009, the most delivered by a Notts bowler this century.

Batting for a second time, the home county lost two wickets before tea. Steven Mullaney was bowled for nought, shouldering arms to Jamie Porter and Chris Nash followed, given out lbw to Peter Siddle for 13.

An horrific mix-up between Joe Clarke and Ben Slater (10) cost the latter his wicket, when Aaron Beard pulled off a sharp stop and return to the non-striker’s end.

Beard enhanced his reputation as something of a ‘golden arm’ when his fourth delivery earned him a third leg-side ‘strangle’ of the match as Clarke’s woeful streak continued. Out for 21, the former Worcestershire batsman has now tallied only 91 runs from his last 10 first class innings.

Patel and Ben Duckett, batting with a thumb injury that had prevented him from taking the field earlier, put on 46 before Harmer struck for the first time in the innings, as Patel nicked to slip.