Aussies are a class apart, says Bopara

Struggling batsman admits he has failed to cope with the Baggy Greens' consistency

For a day or two at least England are in the territory occupied by improbable sporting comebacks. No team has ever won after being behind 3-0 in a one-day series of seven matches and the last to be in such a tricky position responded by losing the next two and trailing 5-0.

That was England all of 10 months ago when they were comprehensively outplayed by India. They avoided the game's first 7-0 outcome but probably only because the last two matches were cancelled after the terrorist attacks on Mumbai.

That England should be in this position again – and at home – is a reflection of their present parlous state. There are several reasons: malaise after the Ashes, the absence of key players, confused strategy, poor execution, wretched form and running into an Australian side with plenty to prove.

England have been extremely poor so far in this NatWest Series and are in danger of making the autumn septet seem even more interminable than it did when looking at it on the calendar. They concede their shortcomings but so far have done precious little to address them.

The team's endeavours at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday night were as insipid as anything they have purveyed so far. Australia bowled tightly with clear policies and unsung bowlers performed with rigour. Nathan Bracken, their left-arm seamer, is a smart cookie who knows how to take advantage of slow-burning pitches and slow-thinking batsmen.

England's shotmaking has been bizarre at times in each match and they have failed hopelessly to set the tone. Form or lack of it has not helped and Ravi Bopara is only one of those out of it.

The general consensus is that Owais Shah, for one, is playing for his career at No 4 but poor Bopara is caught between playing his natural game or a game he thinks will suit the team better. It has left him pitiably indecisive.

"I think we can still pull this out of the fire," Bopara said yesterday. "England always respond well when we are down. We have done it in the past and I'm sure we can do it again. We haven't been good enough with our batting but it doesn't make us bad players."

This late part of the season has been a sharp lesson in big-time cricket for Bopara after he found himself incapable of putting a foot wrong against West Indies. In 11 innings against Australia, combining Test, one-day and Twenty20, he has scored 192 runs. Compare that to the 135 he made in one fell swoop against them in September four years ago.

"I'm only 24, I have a lot of years behind me and, hopefully, I will have learnt a lot from this experience," Bopara said. "I've learnt that the Aussie bowlers were different to anything I have faced in the past. They're a lot more well-drilled and a lot more professional about how they bowl and a lot more accurate. In the past I have played bowlers who will let you off with a few bad balls but they were on the money most of the time against me."

That is an Everestine learning curve to ascend for Bopara and everybody else. The team must fear the worst. But in 1942, Toronto trailed Detroit 3-0 in the Stanley Cup ice hockey finals and won 4-3. More recently, more famously in 2004 the Boston Red Sox were losing 3-0 to the New York Yankees in the seven-match American League Championship Series and recovered to win that and the World Series. England to beat Australia 4-3 and take the subsequent Champions Trophy, anybody?

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine