Sun, Mar 01, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Bopara ton keeps England on top

NO PAIN, NO GAIN The all-rounder defied a black eye to score his second century in a week after flying to the Caribbean as a replacement for Andrew Flintoff

AFP , BRIDGETOWN

England batsman Paul Collingwood sways to avoid being hit by a bouncer from West Indies fast bowler Fidel Edwards during the second day of the fourth Test at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown on Friday.

PHOTO: AP

Ravi Bopara hit his maiden Test hundred to help bat England to a formidable first innings total in the fourth Test against West Indies on Friday.

Bopara followed up his blistering hundred in a two-day, warm-up match last weekend with an equally purposeful 104 which allowed England to declare their first innings on 600 for six, 45 minutes after tea on the second day at Kensington Oval.

England then enhanced their position when James Anderson claimed West Indies captain Chris Gayle for six before stumps were drawn as the home team reached 85 for one in reply.

Bopara arrived in the Caribbean last Saturday from the England Lions’ tour of New Zealand to cover for the injured Andrew Flintoff, who has flown home for treatment on his injured hip, and got into his stride with 124 against a side of young, inexperienced Barbadians.

On Friday, the 23-year-old shared successive hundred-run stands with Paul Collingwood and Tim Ambrose. Collingwood scored 96 and Ambrose was unbeaten on 76 when England declared.

Bopara overcame a black eye to reach three figures, the result of being hit under his helmet grill by paceman Fidel Edwards.

Anderson then trapped Gayle lbw for six playing back and across to a delivery that straightened on him in the fifth over of the West Indies reply.

England had to refer the decision to video umpire Daryl Harper after on-field umpire Russell Tiffin chose to give the West Indies captain the benefit of the doubt.

But England could not make another breakthrough before the close, as Ramnaresh Sarwan, not out on 40, and Devon Smith, unbeaten on 37, defied the visitors’ attack in an unbroken stand of 72.

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