Maiden ton for Bopara as England apply pressure
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Scorecard:West Indies v England
Player:FH Edwards, TR Ambrose, PD Collingwood, RS Bopara
Event:England in West Indies 2008/09

DateLine: 28th February 2009


Ravi Bopara compiled a classy maiden century as England posted 600-6 declared on day two of the fourth Test against West Indies. James Anderson removed Chris Gayle lbw after a TV referral but the hosts had reached 85-1 by stumps in Barbados. Bopara (104) shared stands of 149 with Collingwood (94) and Tim Ambrose (76no) before the tourists declared. England had resumed the day on 301-3 and, despite Kevin Pietersen falling early for 41, put on 299 in 63.2 overs.


England made 600 for the first time since 2003 and only the second time ever in the Caribbean. They scored heavily and quickly and then bowled with discipline and variety to trouble the West Indian batting line-up.


West Indies batsmen Devon Smith (37no) and Ramnaresh Sarwan (40no) need to continue laying a solid foundation from which their side can build if they are to remain in contention. The hosts made a positive start on Friday morning when Edwards (3-152) trapped Pietersen plumb in front of his stumps and, despite a frivolous referral to the third umpire, the batsman was correctly given his marching orders. Pietersen, who was dropped on 20 by Jerome Taylor the previous evening, struggled for rhythm and had already edged Taylor just short of Gayle at first slip before he was ousted.


It was important for England to negotiate their way through a venomous spell from Taylor and Edwards but things could have got worse when new man Bopara miscued Edwards to Taylor at square leg. Fortunately for Bopara the catch was put down and he responded by pulling Taylor for successive fours and hooking Edwards for six. Edwards continued to send down some brute bouncers, one of which smashed into Bopara's helmet and left him requiring treatment from the England physiotherapist. But West Indies failed to maintain the intensity and, aside from one extremely difficult half-chance - Collingwood was technically dropped at short-leg when he middled Sulieman Benn into the chest of Ryan Hinds - England began to make serene progress.


Collingwood produced a superb on-drive to dispatch Edwards to the rope and Bopara ruthlessly cut Benn and on-drove Daren Powell to the same effect. Collingwood nudged Powell for three to record his 12th Test half-century as the tourists reached an impressive 405-4 at lunch.


After the interval, the Durham all-rounder ruthlessly dispatched Powell, Benn and Brendan Nash, while Bopara brought up his first Test half-century with a nudged boundary. The pair traded in ones and twos to guide their side past the 450 mark but just as Collingwood looked set for sure a century, he sliced an attempted slog off Edwards to Nash at deep point.


West Indies could have had another wicket moments later when Ambrose was dropped by wicketkeeper Dinesh Ramdin as he tried to get off the mark by cutting Hinds. Part-time spinner Hinds struck up a determined partnership with Edwards and, for a short period, West Indies were able to frustrate England in their search for quick runs.


But Ambrose grew in confidence, sweeping Hinds for two maximums and displaying the sort of strokemaking that could give the selectors a tough decision when first-choice wicketkeeper Matt Prior returns to the Caribbean in time for the final Test. Ambrose moved towards 50 with a couple of tremendous leg side boundaries off Taylor and passed it for the third time in Tests by paddling Sarwan for two.


England went in for tea on 553-5 and after the re-start Bopara clipped Edwards for two to bring up the 100-partnership off just 120 deliveries. The 23-year-old was soon to reach three figures himself, with a hooked single off Taylor, but three balls later he was on his way after pulling Edwards down Taylor's throat at fine leg.


West Indies would have been desperate to get through the 22 overs before stumps unscathed but it proved beyond them as Gayle was wrapped on the pads by Anderson in the fifth over. Umpire Russell Tiffin rejected England's appeal but, on referral to third umpire Daryl Harper, the Windies captain was given out. With Graeme Swann beginning to generate turn from the footmarks, Smith and Sarwan batted on watchfully with a scattering of elegant strokes for four.


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