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England v Sri Lanka
Antigua, 4 April 2007

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Ravi Bopara
Vaughan hailed the display of Bopara, who took England so close
England skipper Michael Vaughan chose to look at the positives after they fell just short of victory against Sri Lanka despite Ravi Bopara's 52.

Bopara shared an 87-run seventh-wicket stand with Paul Nixon to put England on the brink but they fell two runs short.

Vaughan said: "The dressing room, as you can imagine, is quiet but they should be proud of a superb effort.

"Ravi and 'Nicco' were brilliant and I thought we were going to do it, but it wasn't to be. We're gutted, but proud."

And the skipper reserved special praise for 21-year-old Essex all-rounder Bopara, who showed maturity beyond his years to take England so close.

"I think we might have found quite a player there," said Vaughan.

The plan was to knock it around and then see where we with five overs left and we came so close

Ravi Bopara

"We were outstanding in the field and I thought the bowlers did everything I could have asked for in restricting them to 235. It was a total we felt we could chase.

"Obviously, it wasn't the best start for us but at 100-2 we were cruising. Then we go and lose four quick wickets.

"However, for Ravi, at just 21, to keep his head so well in a cauldron of an atmosphere was unbelievable. Like I say, it's disappointing, but we must look to the positives."

Bopara himself downplayed his efforts, but insisted England could look to Sunday's Super 8 match against Australia with confidence.

"I'm not sure I deserved man-of-the-match - there were a few performances in our team," he said.

"The plan from me and Nicco was to knock it around and then see where we with five overs left and we came so close.

"It's just really disappointing. But, with the spirit we've shown today and with the fact that we've beaten Australia three times out of three recently, there's no need for us to fear them."


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