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Page last updated at 20:23 GMT, Thursday, 14 May 2009 21:23 UK

Bopara thanks Gooch after century

Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara
The Essex pair shared a 65-over partnership for the second wicket

Ravi Bopara became the fifth Englishman to score hundreds in three consecutive Test innings and then paid tribute to the last man to do it - Graham Gooch.

Bopara made 108 and Alastair Cook 126 not out as England reached 302-2 in the second Test against the West Indies.

Both benefited from Gooch's experience when they were youngsters at Essex.

Bopara said: "Graham was a fantastic player, so I wouldn't mention myself alongside him. He has helped me so much and is a great bloke."

The Essex batsman, 24, had a difficult start to his Test career, struggling in the tour to Sri Lanka in December 2007.

We've just got to keep going, trying to bowl in the right areas

West Indies coach John Dyson

And he was dropped even after scoring a Test century in the West Indies earlier this year but has now cemented his place in the side with tons at Lord's and the Riverside.

Bopara said: "Graham got a pair at the very start of his career and so did I. He just sent me a text saying congratulations so it makes me happy to see him happy."

Cook said: "Goochie has been amazing for me and Ravi. When I was 18, he'd be there at 8.30am throwing down at me and all the Essex lads for an hour.

"Putting in that work with the record he has behind him is amazing."

Cook was full of praise for Bopara, with whom he made a second wicket partnership of 213.

"We've all known how good Ravi is, I've never seen someone work as hard on his game - he's brilliant and hopefully he can be a superstar for a long time," he said.

Cook ended a run of 27 Test innings without a century during the winter series in the Caribbean and was relieved not to have to wait as long for his next.

"It was a hard 12 months not getting a hundred, it was frustrating, but at least I was scoring 50s and 60s, it makes you appreciate them a bit more," he said.

"I had a few when I started, then waiting for your eighth 100 is a nice situation to be in, but I'm smiling now and hopefully I can come back and get a big hundred."

West Indies coach John Dyson admitted his side had had a tough opening day.

"It was a very flat wicket and the batsmen batted very well," said Dyson. "Our bowlers stuck at the task reasonably well.

"We've just got to keep going, trying to bowl in the right areas. It was a terrific ball Lionel Baker bowled Ravi on so maybe we can get one or two of those on Friday morning."

Regarding Windies skipper Chris Gayle's comments about a lack of interest in Test cricket, Dyson added: "I've not had a chance to talk to Chris about what was reported in the papers.

"All we're focused on in the dressing room is this match."

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see also
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Jonathan Agnew column
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England hungry for Ashes momentum
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England recall Bell & Sidebottom
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Windies begin tour without stars
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Live cricket on the BBC
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West Indies in England 2009
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