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Bopara eager for Proteas test

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Watch the exclusive interview with Ravi Bopara ahead of the Kia Oval Test

Ravi Bopara cannot wait to test himself at the highest level again with his expected return to England’s Test team for the opening game of the Investec series versus South Africa from tomorrow.

Bopara, whose previous and 12th Test was almost a year ago, has been rewarded for his outstanding limited-overs batting this summer with a recall for the three-match rubber whose winner will be the world's top-ranked team.

The 27-year-old right-hander’s 13th Test could have come earlier this year, but he suffered a side strain and a thigh injury respectively on the eve of the Sri Lanka and West Indies series.

Ravi Bopara

Ravi Bopara told ecb.co.uk : “What’s the point of playing international cricket if you’re not going to challenge yourself against the best?"

Should he play at the Kia Oval he will face one of the world’s strongest attacks, likely to feature fearsome fast bowlers Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander as well as leg-spinner Imran Tahir and seamer Jacques Kallis.

Speaking exclusively to ecb.co.uk, Bopara said: “What’s the point of playing international cricket if you’re not going to challenge yourself against the best?

“That’s what it’s about. You want to see where you’re at, whether you need to go back and work harder, whether you’re in a good place and that sort of stuff. This is a time to test yourself and I’m looking forward to it.”

Bopara hit 182 runs in four innings during the 4-0 NatWest Series thrashing of Australia, including two not-outs, having made 59 in the NatWest International T20 defeat of West Indies.

“You have to back yourself no matter what - red ball, white ball - it is different cricket, but at the end of the day you still do the basics and try hit the ball whenever it’s in your area,” he added.

“It’s what I’m going to try doing when I go out on Thursday. I presume I’ll be batting at number six. I’m looking forward to it. It’s a good challenge and it’s nice to be back in the Test squad.”

Just as Bopara knows he will be tested, he believes the same applies to the Proteas bowlers who are up against an in-form England batting line-up.

Those that played in the Australia rubber are in fine fettle, as are Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen having struck LV= County Championship centuries last week.

“It’s going to be a tough challenge. They’re a strong outfit,” Bopara added. “They’ve got some classy batters, who have proven their records, and obviously a mighty bowling attack as well.

“It’s going to be a good test for our batters, but I think it’s going to be a good test for their bowlers as well because our batters are in very good nick.”

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