Bopara in charge with bat and ball
England Lions 345 West Indies A 221
Ravi Bopara's 168 overpowered West Indies A at Worcester yesterday, but it came too late to influence the selectors, who had announced the squad for the NatWest Series to face Bangladesh earlier in the day.
Instead his Lions colleagues Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott were both named in the 13 to take on the Tigers in three one-day internationals, starting at Trent Bridge on Thursday.
As if to prove a point, Bopara demonstrated that he is at the top of his game, hitting 23 fours and two sixes from 140 balls in a Lions total of 345 all out, to set up their third successive win in this triangular-tournament.
Bopara came to the crease with his team in trouble on 14 for three, with stand-in captain Andrew Gale, who had elected to bat, gone first ball and Trott following him for a single in the first over bowled by Gavin Tonge.
Warwickshire colleague Bell also managed just a single, before falling to Lionel Baker, bringing Bopara to the crease. He soon began to repair the damage sharing half-century stands with opener Steven Davies and then Darren Stevens before piling on 159 for the sixth wicket with Peter Trego (73), who was in equalling commanding form, scoring his runs from just 55 balls, with a six and ten fours.
Although there was a clatter of wickets at the death – five wickets falling in 23 balls to see the Lions all out with five balls unused – they had posted a target beyond their opponents.
Darren Bravo (62) and Kevin Stoute (64) raised expectations briefly, but the last six Windies wickets fell for 33 runs as Bopara (four for 43) and Somerset all-rounder Trego (five for 40) proved themselves with the ball too.
Bopara's display will not only keep the pressure on the batting slots of more defensive Trott and Bell, but also on Luke Wright, whose all-rounder position looks vulnerable.
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