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Page last updated at 22:00 GMT, Friday, 27 February 2009

Bopara glad to grab second chance

Bopara celebrates
Bopara hit a maiden Test century in his first Test since December 2007

Ravi Bopara said he knew he had to make the most of his second opportunity with England as he hit a maiden Test century against West Indies in Barbados.

Bopara, who flew from New Zealand to replace injured Andrew Flintoff, last played for England in December 2007.

"I didn't think I wouldn't get the opportunity again," said Bopara, who hit 104 in England's 600-6 declared.

"But the thing that played on my mind was I had to take the opportunity when it came and I'd like to think I have."

Bopara hit 34 on Test debut in Sri Lanka 14 months ago but was dropped after recording three successive ducks in the two matches that followed.

But he gave notice of his fine form with a century in the two-day warm-up match against a Barbados Cricket Association President's XI last weekend.

Back in the Test side, he survived a dropped catch on four but settled in with ease on a good batting pitch, passing 100 from 140 balls, with eight fours and a six.

Bopara said a blow to the helmet from a bouncer by Fidel Edwards - the pick of the home bowlers - early in his innings gave him extra motivation.

"Getting hit on the grill fired me up," said Bopara, sporting a black eye and a bruised right cheek.

"His bouncers are his weapon and I felt that if I attacked his weapon he's not got much else.

"With the adrenalin you don't really feel it until afterwards.

"I felt pretty confident from the minute I went out there. I'm pretty happy with that and hopefully I can build from there."

England face a tough task as they try to keep West Indies short of the follow-on total of 401 on a good pitch.

Ramnaresh Sarwan, who Bopara described as "a fine player in some serious form" resumes on 40 not out with his side 85-1.

"There are three more days left and these two guys have settled in quite nicely," Bopara added.

"The morning is going to be tricky but hopefully we can get into the middle order, get that new ball again and roll them over."

Hopefully we can go on from here and get a big total and push for another win

Fidel Edwards

Edwards believes the hosts can still win the Test - which would hand them the series - despite England's massive total.

He said: "The wicket is pretty flat, it's a good batting wicket, and hopefully we can go on from here and get a big total and push for another win."

The Bajan paceman said his team-mates have been surprised by the lack of pace in the wicket.

"It's usually a good batting wicket, which takes some spin on the last day," he added. "We thought it would be a lot faster."

Meanwhile Bopara looks set to keep his place in the side for the fifth Test in Trinidad as Flintoff is set to fly home to have treatment on his injured hip.

"Any team without Freddie is a massive loss," Bopara added.

"It's good that he's going back to get ready because we really need him fit for the one-dayers."

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see also
Jonathan Agnew column
27 Feb 09 |  England
England in West Indies 2009
29 Dec 08 |  England

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