Bopara eyes all-round contribution
Ravi Bopara settled into sub-continental batting conditions yesterday and wants to do the same with the ball.
Bopara top-scored with a fluent 73 from 83 deliveries as England beat a Hyderabad Cricket Association XI by 56 runs in their first warm-up match on this tour of India.
The medium-pacer also sent down six wicketless overs that cost 30 as the hosts were dismissed for 163 inside 37 overs at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
England face the same opponents on Tuesday and Bopara, who was wicketless in 10 overs during last month’s NatWest Series, wants his bowling up to scratch ready for India’s batsmen in Friday’s first one-day international.
“I think it’s important for me to get my bowling right on this tour,” he said.
“At some stage my bowling is going to be called upon and I’m going to have to do a good job because as we know, this Indian side, they do have a very, very good batting line-up; they are playing in their own conditions.
“They’ll make it difficult for us bowlers, but that’s where my job is going to be vitally important.”
Bopara turned round a tricky situation yesterday, coming in at 20 for two which became 46 for four and 82 for five.
“It’s going to be a massive help, leading into the series,” he believes. “I’d like to get another score hopefully in the next game, if I do play. That will settle me nicely for the rest of the series, and hopefully we can kick on from there.”
“It was a little bit of a difficult pitch, especially up front,” he added. “With the new ball, it was quite tough. But once that ball got older, it got better. Overall, great competition for us - and we’re just glad we won.”
Having spent three days training since arriving in India, Bopara was pleased to follow time in the nets with time in the middle. Chris Woakes did likewise, contributing 46 not out from number eight.
“You can work as hard as you want in the nets, and you can do hours on it, and it will help your game - but there’s nothing better than spending an hour, hour and a half in the middle in the pressure of a game,” Bopara said.
“That would have been good for myself, good for Woakesy. Hopefully the top four can get some big runs in the next game.”
Woakes’ contribution carried England to 219 all out in 47.2 overs, a score that proved defendable as he struck twice in as many balls before Steven Finn ended the game with a hat-trick.
“It was hard to get the ball away, and quite a soft outfield,” Bopara added.
“It was one of those where we thought we should be scoring a lot quicker, but in reality I thought 240 would have been a good score - and as it proved 220 was a good score.”