Bopara recalled for injured Trott
Essex's Ravi Bopara has been recalled to England's squad for the third Test against India at Edgbaston, starting on Wednesday, after Jonathan Trott failed to recover full fitness after landing heavily on his shoulder while fielding during last week's Trent Bridge Test.
Bopara, who played the last of his ten Tests against Australia in August 2009, was reportedly unlucky to miss out on selection against Sri Lanka earlier this season, after Eoin Morgan's 192 for the England Lions tipped the balance in his favour. He has been given his opportunity this time around, however, despite a strong challenge from the uncapped Leicestershire batsman, James Taylor, who made 98 for the Lions against Sri Lanka A at Scarborough on Friday.
"We have seen some very pleasing performances during the first two npower Test matches," said the national selector, Geoff Miller. "But there is still plenty more to do in this series and the squad and management will be determined to carry the momentum from recent weeks through to the remaining two Tests and push for a comprehensive series victory.
Also included in the 13-man squad is the Middlesex seamer, Steven Finn, who came in as cover on the eve of the Trent Bridge Test after Chris Tremlett succumbed to a back spasm. Though Tremlett is also retained in the squad, his replacement, Tim Bresnan, performed superbly in his absence, making a free-flowing 90 in England's second innings, and sealing the 319-run victory with career-best figures of 5 for 48.
"Ravi Bopara comes in for Jonathan Trott who is continuing his rehabilitation from his shoulder injury," confirmed Miller. "Chris Tremlett is recovering well from the back spasms that ruled him out of the second Test and although we are expecting him to be fully fit ahead of Wednesday we felt it was prudent to include an extra seam bowler at this stage meaning Steven Finn comes into the squad."
Bopara made just 25 and 19 in the England Lions game this week, but confirmed his current form with an impressive 178 for Essex against Leicestershire last week. If England persist with six batsmen, he is likely to slot into the middle order, while Ian Bell is Trott's probable replacement at No. 3 following his superb 159 in the second innings at Trent Bridge. Bopara had a mixed time at No. 3 in his last spell in the Test side. He made 143 against West Indies at Chester-le-Street, but then managed just 105 runs in seven innings in the Ashes.
England are currently riding high in the series, leading 2-0 with two Tests to come, and one more victory will guarantee they succeed India as the No. 1 team in Test cricket.
Squad Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Matt Prior (wk), Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Chris Tremlett, Steven Finn.