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Page last updated at 17:51 GMT, Wednesday, 6 May 2009 18:51 UK

Jonathan Agnew column

Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

Ravi Bopara (right) is hugged by batting partner Stuart Broad after reaching his century
Ravi Bopara now seems to have luck on his side - in contrast, Fidel Edwards seems to have no luck at all

Ravi Bopara certainly passed the test in his first outing at number three. To score centuries in consecutive innings is a great achievement, and he played with great style.

There were occasional lapses in concentration - particularly after tea - but generally this was a patient and well constructed innings.

Bopara always looks relaxed - casual even - and quite a contrast from Owais Shah whose position he took. Shah, Ian Bell and Michael Vaughan will all know that they now face a battle to reclaim their places.

After a torrid early experience of Test cricket in Sri Lanka, where his career halted having bagged one of the most bizarre of pairs, Bopara now seems to have luck on his side - and every sportsman needs that. In Barbados, where he scored his first century, he was badly missed on just four.

Here it was Brendan Nash who dropped a straightforward catch at square leg when Bopara was on 76 and then Devon Smith put him down on 100. He might also have been given out lbw on 40.

In contrast, Fidel Edwards seems to have no luck at all. He had a number of catches dropped in the Caribbean, and he saw three chances go begging off his bowling here as West Indies confirmed their status as the worst catchers in the world by dropping six after tea.

None of them was difficult, and Stuart Broad - who is also looking to make his mark at number seven - benefited no fewer than three times.

Earlier, Edwards took 3-15 in a hostile spell into the sharp wind after lunch. Alastair Cook had looked well set until Edwards found some swing and his inside edge.

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We then saw the best catch of the day, which was taken by Denesh Ramdin to dismiss Kevin Pietersen first ball. It was a good delivery from Edwards which, with his slingy action, moved away from the bat down the Lord's slope.

But Pietersen's leg-side technique did not help either as he aimed towards mid-on, and his recent bad trot continues. Finally, Paul Collingwood played a firm-footed shot which reminded us of his poor form last summer and he edged low to slip for eight. Matt Prior batted busily before tamely clipping a catch off the back foot to cover for 42.

Lord's was barely half full all day, despite the welcome sunshine. Perhaps the Wednesday start confused a few, and there would have been concerns about the weather. But it is also clear that the prices of the tickets are too high.

There is so much cricket these days that people can make their choice, and let's hope that the administrators take note of the ranks of empty white seats and if they insist on staging so many matches, prices will have to come down.



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see also
England rescued by Bopara century
06 May 09 |  England
England v W Indies day one photos
06 May 09 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
05 May 09 |  England
Aussies to retain Ashes - Boycott
05 May 09 |  England
Justin Langer column
05 May 09 |  Cricket
England overlook Bell and Vaughan
29 Apr 09 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
29 Apr 09 |  England
West Indies in England 2009
04 Dec 08 |  Cricket


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