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Page last updated at 19:47 GMT, Wednesday, 12 August 2009 20:47 UK

Bopara and Bell struggle for form

Latest County Championship scores (involving England hopefuls):
Division One: Lancashire v Durham
Division One: Nottinghamshire v Warwickshire
Division Two: Middlesex v Essex
Division Two: Northamptonshire v Kent
Pro40 Division Two: Surrey v Glamorgan

Ravi Bopara and Ian Bell
Bopara and Bell are both under pressure for their Test places

Under-pressure England batsmen Ravi Bopara and Ian Bell made just one run each as they tried to find form in the County Championship on Wednesday.

Playing for Essex against Middlesex, Bopara was caught off Tim Murtagh, who also trapped England opener Alastair Cook lbw for just four at Lord's.

Then, Bell was caught behind against Nottinghamshire, before fellow Test hopeful Jonathan Trott followed for 15.

The squad for the final Ashes Test is expected to be named on Sunday.

Five contracted England players had been released for the current round of matches - Bopara, Cook, Bell, Graham Onions and Graeme Swann - before the deciding fifth Test against Australia.


Seamer Onions bowled 19 wicketless overs on day two as Durham reduced Lancashire to 252-9 at Old Trafford, while off-spinner Swann was unable to play for Nottinghamshire because of a stomach upset.

Warwickshire batsman Trott, who is not centrally contracted, was named in the squad for the fourth Test at Headingley but was not selected.

He and Bell were briefly at the crease together at Trent Bridge before Bell fell to left-arm swing bowler Ryan Sidebottom, who is also a contender for the squad at The Oval.

Trott hit two fours before he was caught off Charlie Shreck, while Sidebottom also captured the wickets of Jim Troughton and Tim Ambrose.

Another candidate for a batting place is Rob Key, who played the last of his 15 Tests in 2005.

He made 90 for Kent against Northants on Tuesday, while Monty Panesar, hoping to be recalled as a second spinner, took 2-56 from 22 overs.

Meanwhile, veteran Mark Ramprakash, who last played a Test in 2002 but has been tipped for a shock one-off recall, hit a confident 24 off 24 balls against Glamorgan at The Oval on Wednesday evening in a limited-overs match.

Bopara has made 105 runs in seven innings against Australia this summer, while Bell has hit 64 in three innings since his recall for the third Test - having been dropped during the tour of the West Indies in the spring.

Owais Shah, who was also dropped by England earlier this year, was trapped lbw for eight in Middlesex's first innings on Tuesday.

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see also
Ramprakash ready for Test call-up
12 Aug 09 |  England
Key 'dreaming' of Ashes call-up
11 Aug 09 |  Cricket
Bell a victim of Twitter hoaxer
12 Aug 09 |  Cricket
Surrey want swift Ramprakash call
11 Aug 09 |  England
Ramprakash in England contention
10 Aug 09 |  England
Panesar ready for England call-up
11 Aug 09 |  Northants
England quintet face county stint
10 Aug 09 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
09 Aug 09 |  England
Flower hints at batting changes
09 Aug 09 |  England
County cricket commentaries
26 Mar 10 |  Counties
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England

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