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Bopara rescues England with classy ton at Lord's

RAVI Bopara batted with patience and application in England's problematic No. 3 position on Wednesday to compile an unbeaten 118 on the opening day of the first test against West Indies.

Bopara restrained his attacking instincts in an innings which has taken 246 balls so far to help England reach a respectable 289 for seven at the close at Lord's.

He stood firm in the face of some splendidly hostile fast bowling from Fidel Edwards, who moved the ball late away from the right-handers and captured 3-9 from 22 balls in the afternoon session.

It was the Essex all-rounder's first test at Lord's and fully justified the selectors' decision to promote him to No. 3 after he scored a hundred in his only test in the Caribbean this year.

West Indies were badly let down by their catching. Stuart Broad (38) survived chances on nine, 13, 32 and 37 while Bopara was dropped on 76 and 102.

Edwards, who claimed four for 53, was the main sufferer with Brendan Nash at square-leg grassing the first chance off Bopara immediately after tea. Broad was put down off his bowling by Sulieman Benn at gully and again by captain Chris Gayle at first slip.

Gayle, who had opted to field on a sunlit first morning of the earliest test ever staged in England, will reflect on a day of lost opportunities.

Jerome Taylor dismissed captain Andrew Strauss for 16, caught low down by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin while Edwards bowled Alastair Cook for 35.

With his next delivery Edwards dismissed Kevin Pietersen from a delivery which moved late to catch the edge as the batsman shaped to play to leg. Ramdin took an excellent one-handed catch moving to his right.

Paul Collingwood succumbed for eight, caught low at second slip by Devon Smith, and wicketkeeper Matt Prior, promoted to No. 6 in the absence of the injured Andrew Flintoff, was caught at cover for 42.


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