Bopara to take up the vacant spot
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Player:RS Bopara, TR Ambrose, GP Swann
Event:England in West Indies 2008/09

DateLine: 26th February 2009


All-rounder Ravi Bopara is set to return to the England side for Thursday's fourth test against West Indies in Barbados after a hip injury ruled Andrew Flintoff out. Skipper Andrew Strauss hinted strongly on Wednesday that Bopara would get the slot at number six in the batting line-up as England try to level the series. The only other alternative would be a recall for batsman Ian Bell, dropped for the Antigua test, and Strauss poured cold water on that notion.


Although not a frontline bowler, Bopara can bowl medium-pacers and would offer some relief to an attack that will feature spinner Graeme Swann who has been passed fit despite an elbow worry. With wicketkeeper Matt Prior having returned to England after his wife gave birth, Tim Ambrose will don the keeping gloves.


West Indies have not won a test series against England since 1998 and after winning the opening test in Jamaica and hanging on spiritedly in Antigua, skipper Chris Gayle is aware of the chance to finally restore some pride. Gayle stressed continuity when asked about selection and the only change that could be mulled would be bringing in batsman Lendl Simmons for Ryan Hinds - but an unchanged side from Antigua is the most likely.


The last seven Tests at Kensington Oval, where the pitch is typically hard, true, and offers a lot more bounce than elsewhere in the Caribbean have all produced results. England would be encouraged to know that West Indies have been on the wrong side of five of them.


As West Indies celebrated a great escape that felt like a victory at the ARG, England were left feeling broken and bereft. They had come so close to squaring the series, but now have no choice but to win back-to-back contests in Barbados and Trinidad if they are to emulate their 2003-04 achievement and triumph in the Caribbean.


Teams :


West Indies (From): Chris Gayle(c), Devon Smith, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ryan Hinds, Brendan Nash, Denesh Ramdin(w), Jerome Taylor, Daren Powell, Sulieman Benn, Fidel Edwards, Lendl Simmons, Lionel Baker


England (From): Andrew Strauss(c), Alastair Cook, Owais Shah, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Ravi Bopara, Tim Ambrose(w), Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Stephen Harmison, Ian Bell, Amjad Khan, Monty Panesar, Matthew Prior, Adil Rashid, Ryan Sidebottom


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