LONDON – Ravi Bopara batted with patience and application in England’s problematic number three position on Wednesday to compile an unbeaten 118 on the opening day of the first Test against West Indies at Lord’s.
Bopara restrained his attacking instincts in an innings which has taken 246 balls so far to help England reach a respectable 289 for seven at the close. He stood firm in the face of some splendidly hostile fast bowling from Fidel Edwards, who moved the ball late away from the right-handers and captured three for nine from 22 balls in the afternoon session. It was the Essex all-rounder’s first Test at Lord’s and fully justified the selectors’ decision to promote him to number three after he scored a hundred in his only Test in the Caribbean this year.
West Indies was badly let down by its catching. Stuart Broad (38) survived chances on nine, 13, 32 and 37 while Bopara was dropped on 76 and 102.
Edwards, who claimed four for 53, was the main sufferer with Brendan Nash at square-leg grassing the first chance off Bopara immediately after tea. Broad was put down off his bowling by Sulieman Benn at gully and again by captain Chris Gayle at first slip.
Jerome Taylor dismissed captain Andrew Strauss for 16, caught low down by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin while Edwards bowled Alastair Cook for 35. With his next delivery Edwards dismissed Kevin Pietersen from a magnificent delivery which moved late to catch the edge as the batsman shaped to play to leg. Ramdin took an excellent one-handed catch moving to his right.
Paul Collingwood succumbed for eight, caught low at second slip by Devon Smith from a firm-footed prod, and wicketkeeper Matt Prior was caught at cover for a jaunty 42 which took him past 1,000 runs in Test cricket. With England struggling at 193 for five, the West Indies’ bowlers kept finding the edges but their fielders started dropping their catches. Broad was put down by Ramdin off Benn and the left-arm spinner then failed to hold on to a caught-and-bowled opportunity. Smith floored Bopara off Lionel Baker two runs after the England batsman had reached his century. – Reuters