Mixed emotions for Bopara
Ravi Bopara admitted to "frustration" at getting out shortly before England Lions completed their win at Derby, but is satisfied that his hard work over the winter can pay off.
Bopara has not played Test cricket since a chastening experience at number three in last summer’s first four Ashes Tests, but he took advantage of his selection for England Lions against Bangladesh at Derby by taking 7-23 in the match and scoring 28 in the second innings.
It was his first appearance in a first-class match this season, after Indian Premier League and World Twenty20 stints, but he believes he is close to the top of his game.
Bopara, 25, admitted that his absence from the Test arena has made him more hungry to get back in the England squad.
“Definitely,” he said. “Playing out in New Zealand in the winter and doing things on my own, I've learned stuff about my own game. I worked on a couple of technical things to make batting easier for myself."
Bopara looked set to end the Lions game by helping his Essex team-mate Alastair Cook clinch a 10-wicket win until he was bowled by left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak on the stroke of lunch.
"It was very, very frustrating," he said. "I could have smashed the changing room up.
"I was trying to get the 10 runs we needed before lunch so we could all get off a bit earlier and ended up giving my wicket away. But you live and learn and I won't be doing that again."
Despite having to stomach defeat in three days, there was some good news for Bangladesh, who are optimistic skipper Shakib Al Hasan will have made a full recovery from chickenpox to play in the first npower Test at Lord's, which starts next Thursday.
Important opening batsman Tamim Iqbal will see a specialist about a hand problem before a decision is made about his place in the Test.
Regarding Shakib's prospects, coach Jamie Siddons said: "He's much better. He bowled and batted today and walked some laps.
"I'm pretty confident he's pacing himself well and will definitely be putting his hand up to play.
"That's good news for us because he's an integral part of our line-up and balances our team out nicely."
On the nine-wicket defeat to the Lions, Siddons said: "I didn't think the wicket was perfect for batting and I think the Test wicket will be a lot better.
"Our bowlers got another one-and-a-bit innings’ bowling and I think they did really well in the first innings.
"I'm still reasonably happy, although I'm not happy about the result, but it swung a lot and when Alastair Cook plays and misses at four balls in a row there's something going on out there.
"It was difficult batting and I am sure they would say the same because they struggled to get 290 in the first innings."
Foreseeing Bangladesh's chances at Lord's, Siddons said: "We are hoping for a really good performance.
"We've played good Test cricket over the last six months and pushed England in Bangladesh and hopefully, all things being even, we will play really well at Lord's."