Bopara, Cook steer England to 302/2 against West Indies

Ravi Bopara made it three centuries in three innings as England punished the West Indies bowlers on Thursday to reach 302 for two on Day 1 of the 2nd Test.

updated: May 14, 2009 16:46 IST
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Ravi Bopara made it three centuries in three innings as England punished the West Indies bowlers on Thursday to reach 302 for two on the first day of the second Test.

Alistair Cook also made his ninth Test century to share in a second wicket partnership of 213 with Bopara who was bowled for 108 by Lionel Baker. Cook finished the day unbeaten on 126.

After England's 10-wicket triumph at Lord's, the opening day's batting performance on a cold day at Durham's Riverside ground gave the West Indies little hope of winning the second Test to square the series.

Bopara, who scored 104 at Bridgetown and Barbados and 143 at Lord's, joins Herbert Sutcliffe, Dennis Compton, Geoffrey Boycott and Graham Gooch as England players who have scored three centuries in three innings.

After winning the toss, England captain Andrew Strauss made 26 before he was given out caught behind by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin off spinner Chris Gayle with 69 runs on the board.

Cook and Bopara then continued the leisurely pace of the morning session in front of a sparse crowd, with only 3,000 advance tickets sold at Test cricket's most northerly ground.

But Bopara had a lucky escape shortly after reaching his half-century, when he glanced a delivery by Lionel Baker that Ramdin couldn't quite hold.

It instead went through the wicketkeeper's glove for four, boosting Bopara's attempt to secure the No. 3 berth for the subsequent Ashes series against Australia.

Cook did offer a slight chance in the 64th over while on 84. Jerome Taylor finally extracted some swing as the ball passed the bat and claimed a faint edge from the left-hander to Ramdin, but the umpire was not swayed by his hopeful appeal.

Cook reached his ninth Test century when he pulled a ball from leftarm spinner Sullieman Benn through the onside for his 11th four and followed that up with another boundary off the next ball.

Bopara went on the attack against Benn, lofting him for four, six and four in successive balls and reached his century by prodding a loose ball from Lendl Simmons for a single.

But he was out soon after the West Indies took the new ball, Baker getting the ball to come back and sneak between bat and pad to take the off stump.

This concluding Test against West Indies is the last before England tries to regain the Ashes urn from the touring Aussies.