Doubts hang over Bopara fitness
Question marks over Ravi Bopara's fitness took centre stage as Essex and Kent played out a draw in the County Championship clash at Chelmsford.
Bopara, who was pencilled in to bat at number six for England in the first Test against the West Indies, suffered a quad injury bowling on Friday and emerged at number eight on the final day batting with a runner.
He was run out in bizarre fashion, attempting to complete a single himself, and England must now give serious consideration to middle-order alternatives.
The game finished with Kent 136 ahead on 92 for two in the second innings, having bowled Essex out for 181.
Bopara's run out came after he had reached 19 and suddenly raced down the pitch after playing a ball from Mark Davies into the covers.
His runner, Greg Smith, had covered the same distance alongside the edge of the square when Bopara realised his mistake and tried to return to the striker's end only to fall well short of his ground.
Essex had resumed on 94 for two in reply to Kent's 225 and lost Smith to Charlie Shreck without further scoring.
James Foster faced 39 balls but scored just a single boundary before Brendan Nash took a fine catch at cover point to give pacemen Ivan Thomas his first Championship wicket.
The 20-year-old collected another when he got rid of Mark Pettini, the only batsman to seem at all assured at the crease. Pettini was within eight runs of his first Championship century for three years when he was trapped leg before to end an innings that contained 11 fours and lasted just short of three and a half hours.
Davies, who occasionally made the ball lift off a length was the pick of the Kent bowlers, finishing with four for 20 from 24.4 overs, 14 of which were maidens.
Shreck returned three 59 from 20 overs, while Thomas emerged with two for 29 from his 16 overs.
Skipper Robert Key was content to use the remainder of the match as little more than net practice when Kent went in again, with no prospect of a result.
He reached the close unbeaten with 40, though Scott Newman (24) and Ben Harmison (one) both lost their wickets before the end.
Kent collected seven points for their endeavours, with Essex taking six.