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Cook praises Bopara bowling

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England captain Alastair Cook has been impressed with Ravi Bopara’s bowling displays during the NatWest Series against South Africa.

The Essex all-rounder has given Cook another option with his gentle seamers, rewarding his skipper’s faith with crucial scalps in economical spells during the four and six-wicket victories at the Kia Oval and Lord’s.

After delivering only three overs in the heavy defeat at the Ageas Bowl, Bopara followed up figures of 1-31 off 10 - only the second time he had completed a full allocation in an ODI - with 2-34 off nine as England moved 2-1 ahead in the five-match series.

The 27-year-old’s wicket-to-wicket approach has seen him rearrange the stumps of Francois du Plessis twice and dangerman Hashim Amla in the middle overs, leaving Cook to heap praise on his county team-mate.

“He’s come into the side and all summer he has bowled well,” Cook said.

James Tredwell, Ravi Bopara & Hashim Amla

“He’s come into the side and all summer he has bowled well," England skipper Alastair Cook said of Ravi Bopara's bowling

“He’s managed to keep picking up wickets. He’s always had a bit of a golden arm, but he has learned to control his length a bit better than he has done in the past.

“He bowls a lot less four-balls and bowling wicket to wicket, we know in one-day cricket brings all the dismissals into play.”

Although Bopara has managed only 22 runs in three innings so far this series, Cook believes it is only a matter of time before the right-hander shows the form that greeted Australia earlier this summer.

“Like anyone, including myself, you get a little bit frustrated when you are not scoring runs,” he added. “That’s why it’s great when you have both strings to your bow like he does.

“It’s not quite happening with the bat for him at the moment, but he showed his class with the bat against Australia and is certainly making a massive contribution with the ball at the moment.

“It’s great as a captain because we have got six options with the ball and it’s nice to have that.”

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