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Cricket: Pears turn screw on rivals.

WORCESTERSHIRE continued their domination of promotion rivals Essex in the County Championship Division Two match at New Road.

Worcestershire maintained the upper hand after declaring on their overnight tally of 473 for six and. despite half-centuries from captain Ronnie Irani, James Foster and Varun Chopra, Essex, needing 324 to avoid the follow-on, closed 28 short on 296 for seven.

Essex suffered their first setback in the 12th over when Mark Pettini edged a rising delivery outside the off-stump from Zaheer Khan to wicketkeeper Steve Davies.

It was the Indian pace-man's 70th wicket of the season in his 14th match.

Ravi Bopara was next to go when he fell victim to a smart catch above his head at second slip by the alert Graeme Hick off seamer Nadeem Malik.

By lunch Essex were 87 for two off 33 overs - a score which was in stark contrast to the previous day when Worcestershire's tally at the same stage was 177 for one.

Chopra's innings came to an end when he hung his bat out to a Malik delivery and was snapped up low down to his right by Ben Smith at first slip.

Irani and Foster then added 137 in 39 overs before Foster, on 80, moved down the wicket to spinner Gareth Batty and was neatly stumped by Davies. In the next over Irani was out after trying to turn Vikram Solanki down the leg side and being caught by Davies.


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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Sep 1, 2006
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