Warwickshire v Essex: Chopra hails squad efforts
PUBLISHED: 09:00 14 September 2017
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Essex batsman Varun Chopra paid tribute to his team-mates after they took a big step towards clinching the Specsavers County Championship title on Wednesday.
Chopra fell two runs short of a century as the Division One leaders declared on 369-9, in reply to Warwickshire’s 201 at Edgbaston.
And with title rivals Lancashire forced to follow on at Somerset, a defeat for the Red Rose county at Taunton will see Essex crowned champions with two matches to spare.
Chopra said: “It was a good, solid day for us following on from day one, so with things looking okay for us down in Taunton it could be an exciting day.
“All season it has been a complete squad effort with different guys stepping up at different moments throughout the whole season. We have had eight guys get hundreds in the championship and two have got 60-odd wickets so that’s fantastic. Another squad effort and who knows.”
Chopra, facinng his former club, put on 72, 56 and 92 with Nick Browne, Tom Westley and Dan Lawrence (78) respectively, before James Foster (68) and Simon Harmer added 76 for the seventh wicket.
He added: “I would certainly have taken 98 at the start of the game. It is a pretty good cricket wicket with a little bit there for everyone.
“Warwickshire stuck at their task pretty well throughout the day. They kept coming in and made it hard for us to get away from them but Dan Lawrence played really well as did James Foster near the end, shepherding the bowling with all his experience.
“It was nice to be back at Edgbaston and see some friendly faces. I have some lovely memories from my time here and it is nice to see my old team-mates and the staff and ground-guys and it’s been a good experience.”
Warwickshire all-rounder Chris Woakes admitted his side were up against it in their fight to avoid relegation, but is refusing to throw in the towel just yet.
He said: “201 wasn’t enough in the first innings, if we’re being realistic, and we’ve got a tough day’s batting but we’re by no means completely out of the game. Obviously we’re behind the eight-ball but if we put a couple of partnerships together and make them work like they did to us then we can get ourselves back in the game.
“We stuck at it well in the field through two 40-over sessions, which always make it harder for the fielding team. It’s a good pitch so we’ve just got to get stuck in and build a few partnerships.
“It was really nice to get 24 overs in. I feel like I have been a bit match-rusty so to get those overs under my belt is pleasing. I felt like I bowled reasonably well on a wicket not offering a huge amount.”