Ravi Bopara resisted the opportunity of the early birthday present of a first-class century when he could have selfishly opted for an early-evening thrash at the Ageas Bowl.

Bopara, who turns 33 today, could have batted on for the remaining 13 balls of the match at Hampshire and raised his bat for the 28th time in red-ball cricket.

But he refused the chance of cheap runs and opted to honour the declaration when Essex reached 300 and secured their third batting point from the weather-wrecked draw.

With 16 runs required to reach three-figures, captain Ryan ten Doeschate left it up to Bopara whether he wanted to carry on in the middle.

The Essex all-rounder, who also reaches 200 first-class career appearances today, said: “When I looked up at the dressing room when we reached 300, Tendo indicated, ‘Do you want to go for you hundred?’ “I didn’t want to score a hundred in that situation where the target had been achieved before the overs were finished. I didn’t want to go, ‘You know what, I’ll slog the last two overs and hopefully get to a hundred’. It’s not the way I want to do it. Every hundred you score in first-class cricket is a big deal.

“I would have backed myself to get the extra 16 runs with the 12 balls remaining. But those runs wouldn’t have felt like a graft.

“In a proper game, those last 16 runs would be hard work. I just wanted to help the team get to 300, that was the most important thing. That was the focus and what the whole of that innings was about – not me getting a hundred – and we achieved that.

“I wasn’t fazed whether I got a hundred or not. I know I’m going to score hundreds. I know they’re coming; they’re round the corner. I’ll get a few this year. And not only this year, but in the years to come for Essex.”

Essex play Yorkshire at The Cloudfm County Ground today with the memory of the four-day wash-out at Headingley fresh in the mind. “Headingley was a loss,” Bopara insisted.

“Five points was not good for us, especially being defending champions. So we’ve got a bit of work to do.

“We’re sitting fourth in the table having played a game extra than some of the other teams.”

Yorkshire arrive at Chelmsford having lost to Somerset by 118 runs earlier this. They include Alastair Cook’s fellow England team-mates Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow.

Essex squad to face Yorkshire: Ten Doeschate, Foster, Beard, Browne, Chopra, A. Cook, S. Cook, Harmer, Lawrence, Porter, Siddle, Westley