The Surfer

Cool, calm Bopara has arrived

Ravi Bopara's century in the opening day at Lord's overcame the shortcomings of those who competed for the No.3 spot with him, writes Vic Marks in the Guardian

Ravi Bopara's century in the opening day at Lord's overcame the shortcomings of those who competed for the No.3 spot with him, writes Vic Marks in the Guardian. Bopara is demonstrating that in the modern world Twenty20 cricket can be the ideal preparation for a Test match. Well, at least, it worked for him.
Owais Shah in the Caribbean looked so intense, banging his bat into the turf with a vice-like grip that led to cramp and often running with the harum-scarum horror of a deer caught on a motorway. If Bopara was nervous at Lord's it did not show. He ambled around the crease casually and in between deliveries he could be spotted at the non-striker's end wandering over to mid-on for a little chat with Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
However, Simon Wilde strikes a cautious note at the tactic of establishing Bopara as a No.3 batsman, saying he has the technique and temperament of a counter-attacking No.5 or 6. He also gives examples of noted predecessors. Read on in the Times.
Nor has Bopara batted as often for Essex at number three as his supporters would claim. He batted there in only four of his 12 championship appearances last year, scoring one century. His experience of the job is distinctly limited.
In the Telegraph, Simon Hughes writes that Bopara exhibited a slight vulnerability to the moving ball outside off stump initially in his innings, but what some of the previous incumbents have lacked is a presence at the crease that declares an intention, even a right, to be out there all day.
An engaging, absorbent individual who studies the game carefully and exudes calm at the crease, he handled with poise the mini-crisis in the early afternoon, when three wickets fell for 17 runs. Moving smoothly about the crease, he picked up neat singles and stroked the ball elegantly through the covers. His cutting was classy. He was equally comfortable against pace or spin and rode the movement dexterously.
In the Independent, Stephen Brenkley writes that Bopara talks the talk because he is passionate about batting and batsmen but sound judges have said for years that he can also walk the walk.
He goes out every day expecting a hundred and when he got there he made defined a rectangular shape with his arms and then made to write something. This was the dressing room honours board and his name that will now go on it.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo