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.
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.
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.
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