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Bopara backs England to pass test

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Gautam Gambhir & Rubel Hossain

Facing India on Sunday at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium "will be one of our toughest challenges on this tour", according to Ravi Bopara

Ravi Bopara knows England face a huge test of their World Cup aspirations this weekend - but is confident they will rise to the occasion against India.

The favourites and co-hosts await England at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Sunday, fresh from their 87-run win over Bangladesh in Dhaka in the tournament’s opening match.

England’s six-wicket success against the Netherlands in Nagpur was significantly less convincing, fielding lapses and moderate bowling putting the onus on them to chase 292 for six under lights.

They managed it, though, thanks in part to Bopara’s unbeaten 30 from only 20 balls.

India will nonetheless be much more difficult opponents, and Bopara said: “It will be one of our toughest challenges on this tour.

“We know what the Indian batsmen are capable of, but we do have our plans. We know where to bowl to certain players to keep them quiet.”

For Bopara, who grew up watching his father’s native India play almost as much as he did England, it will be a special occasion if he keeps his place in the side.

“The game against India in India will be huge,” he added. “It’s massive for the fans - massive for England fans and massive for India fans. All the boys are really looking forward to it.

“You don’t try to think about it too much. If you start to think about it, you go into ’over-mode’, so you need to be as relaxed as possible.”

Bopara has rarely established himself in the England team, despite having played 55 one-day internationals and 10 Tests at the age of 25.

“It’s a good opportunity to get myself back in,” he said. “I’ve been given two opportunities - one in the warm-up and one the other day - to get myself back in there and show the guys what I can do and what they’ve been missing.”

Should he fail to make the cut in Bangalore, though, he will simply keep trying to impress.

“If I’m playing well in the nets - bowling well, batting well and fielding well I’ve always got a good chance of being in the side,” he added. “The coaches do see your form in the nets and practice games, and sometimes that can be enough to push you forward.”

Ravi Bopara

“Coming back to the Pakistan game, I got a chance to bat 30-odd balls, which helps," said Bopara, who hit 35 in the warm-up

Runs in the middle are what count most, though, and Bopara said: “It does a lot for my confidence.

“Coming back to the Pakistan game, I got a chance to bat 30-odd balls there as well, which helps.

“Match practice is the best thing you can get. You can bat for hours and hours in the nets, but match practice is the best.”

Bopara never had any doubt England would get over the line against the Netherlands but he had to make sure he was part of the victory.

“The other night, I felt very relaxed when I got in,” he added. “I always thought we’d win the game. I just wanted to be there at the end to finish it off.”

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