India opener Murali Vijay smashed a brilliant 181-ball 100 to guide Essex to a comfortable eight-wicket win over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge on Thursday.
Set a target of 282, Vijay and Tom Westley (110) added 204 for the second wicket that took them close to the total. Vijay, who had scored 56 in the first innings of the match, continued his rich form after a dismal series against England where he scored 26 runs in four innings.
After his no-show in the series, he was axed from the squad for the last two Tests at Southampton and the Oval. Prithvi Shaw and Hanuma Vihari were given the nod instead.
Essex began the final day on 147 for 1, requiring only 135 to win the match. Both Vijay and Westley then quickly got into their strides to take Essex closer to the target. Vijay fell soon after reaching his century, bowled by Samit Patel 61 runs away from victory but Westley remained unbeaten till the end on a 110 and along with Dan Lawrence (29 not out) took the side home.
This was Vijay’s 25th first-class ton and became the first Essex batsman after Hashim Amla to score a century on County debut.
Essex, the defending champions got 20 points from the victory and made a return to the Division One of the Championship.