Bopara hits century as England pile up 600-6

Ravi Bopara struck his maiden century and Paul Collingwood hit 96 as England piled up 600-6 declared against West Indies on day two Friday of the fourth Test at Kensington Oval. Read all cricket stories

cricket Updated: Feb 28, 2009 10:01 IST

Ravi Bopara struck his maiden century and Paul Collingwood hit 96 as England piled up 600-6 declared against West Indies on day two Friday of the fourth cricket test at Kensington Oval.

West Indies lost captain Chris Gayle cheaply but responded strongly to post 85-1 at the close.

The in-form Ramnaresh Sarwan was unbeaten on 40 with opener Devon Smith on 37 not out.

Bopara, a late replacement in the squad, helped press home England's advantage with 104 after the tourists resumed on 301-3. The Essex batsman, in only his fourth test, took advantage of an early life to blast nine fours and a six off 143 balls. "It's nice. I felt pretty confident from the time I went out there," Bopara said. "I'm happy with that and hopefully I can build from there."

Collingwood just missed out on a ton after a fluent innings that spanned 159 deliveries and was decorated with 12 boundaries in nearly four hours.

Wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose hit a boisterous, unbeaten 76 as he grabbed the chance presented to him by the absence of Matt Prior on paternity leave.

Fidel Edwards was the pick of the West Indian bowlers although his figures of 3-151 did not do him justice.

Bopara arrived in the Caribbean only on Saturday as cover for the injured Andrew Flintoff but hit a century in the warmup match last weekend and was included here for his first test since December 2007.

"I didn't think that I wouldn't get the opportunity again, I thought one day my opportunity would come," Bopara said. "I think the only thing that played on my mind was that I had to take my opportunity the next time it came and I'd like to think that I have."

Edwards gave West Indies a good start to the day when he removed Pietersen for 41 at 318-4. England's premier batsman, overnight 32, was blatantly leg before wicket as he played across the line. Pietersen challenged Russell Tiffin's verdict but third umpire Daryl Harper confirmed the decision.

Edwards should have made further inroads in the next over but Bopara's ill-controlled hook was spilled by Jerome Taylor running in from deep square leg.

That chance was the third off Edwards' bowling following two misses on day one.

Edwards continued to pepper Bopara with the short ball and he engaged in an absorbing battle with the Barbadian fast bowler. He top-edged one just off the fingertips of leaping substitute Sharmarh Brooks on the boundary for six and then was hit in the grille of the helmet as he missed another hook.

"He did come back at me, getting me on the grille. But it sort of fired me up," Bopara said. "I thought, well, that's his weapon, his bouncer's his weapon and if I attack his weapon, he's not got much else."

Bopara survived the threat and added 149 for the fifth wicket with Collingwood either side of tea to solidify England's position of strength.

Collingwood, who crossed 3,000 runs when he reached 19, seemed set for a second successive hundred until he skewed an ambitious drive out to deep point where Brendan Nash pouched a simple catch. West Indies continued its butterfingered display in the field when Ambrose, yet to score, was dropped off his third ball by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin off Ryan Hinds' left-arm spin. Bopara and Ambrose then produced a scintillating partnership of 113 off 130 deliveries against a wilting home team attack. Bopara passed three figures just after tea, celebrating in Usain Bolt style, before he fell to a deserving Edwards as he skied a hook.

Captain Andrew Strauss declared once England notched 600, leaving West Indies an hour and three quarters to negotiate. Anderson claimed Gayle lbw for 6 but only after Tiffin's original not out verdict was challenged and overruled by Harper. But Smith and Sarwan played some fine strokes in a counterattacking stand of 72 off 130 balls to keep England at bay.

First Published: Feb 28, 2009 09:59 IST