Bopara blunts Black Caps
Skipper Daniel Vettori suffered a cut finger and Ravi Bopara hit 66 to spoil a good second day for New Zealand against Essex.
Last Updated: 05/05/08 6:10pm
Chelmsford - Day Two
New Zealand 355 (J A H Marshall 128, R N ten Doeschate 6-57) v Essex 251-9 (R S Bopara 66, M J Mason 4-59)
Essex finished on 251-9 in reply to New Zealand's total of 355, though day two of the tour match was dominated by two finger injuries.
While England batsman Alastair Cook proved his fitness by opening for his county, the tourists lost their skipper Daniel Vettori.
Although he only made 15, left-hander Cook did at least prove he could bat without discomfort from the right little finger he dislocated on day one.
In contrast New Zealand have concerns over Vettori with the first Test fast approaching on the horizon after he suffered a nasty cut on to the forefinger of his bowling hand.
He was hurt in innocuous circumstances backing up a throw at the stumps from his vice-captain Brendon McCullum, although it is expected he will be fit to lead his country at Lord's.
The concerns over the fitness of two key players overshadowed the efforts of Ravi Bopara, who struck his sixth successive half-century from as many attempts so far this season.
A knock of 66 which included nine boundaries will have given the England selectors another timely reminder of his talents following a disappointing winter.
Alex Tudor was the next highest scorer with 41, while Essex skipper Mark Pettini contributed 29.
Michael Mason and Iain O'Brien pushed their claims for a place in the Black Caps' attack for the upcoming three-Test series with seven wickets between them.
They had started the day at the crease but managed to add no further runs to their frustrating last-wicket stand of 59.
Ryan ten Doeschate trapped Mason lbw pushing forward with the first ball of the day to finish with impressive figures of 6-57.
However, Mason showed his value with the ball by taking 4-59, including having Cook caught behind by 'keeper McCullum.
O'Brien finished with 3-46, Bopara one of his victims when he picked out short cover with an aerial back-foot drive.
By the close the home side were trailing by 104 runs with one wicket left in their first innings.