England v Australia: Alastair Cook heaps praise on Ravi Bopara
Alastair Cook heaps praise on England's Ravi Bopara as the hosts beat Australia by seven wickets to seal a 4-0 series win
Alastair Cook heaped praise on Ravi Bopara as England beat Australia by seven wickets on Duckworth/Lewis to complete a 4-0 series whitewash at Old Trafford.
The Essex batsman was named man of the match as he scored an unbeaten half-century and took two wickets, and captain Cook believes Bopara is starting to blossom for England.
“We all know what a quality player he is, and he is starting to deliver for England now,” Cook told the BBC.
“Our number seven batsman didn’t get a bat in this series, so that shows how much credit we should give to our top order batsmen in this series.”
Under grey Manchester skies, the match was reduced to 32 overs a-side and Cook’s men made light work of their opponents once more to finish off a one-sided series.
Australia limped to 145 for 7 off their 32 overs after being put into bat – spin bowler James Tredwell took 2-23 on his return to the one-day outfit, his last game coming in March of last year.
Only George Bailey (46 not out) batting at number seven and opener David Warner (32) showed any resistance for the tourists in the cold Lancashire weather.
Uncharacteristically poor running between the wickets accounted for skipper Michael Clarke and number three Peter Forrest, as they were both run out in single figures.
With only 146 required for victory, it was going to take a brilliant performance from Australia to win the match but they got off to the perfect start – Ian Bell was out in the first over, flicking a shot to George Bailey off the bowling of Clint McKay.
However, it was to be a false dawn and England soon settled into a steady rhythm and a brief rain break meant that England’s target was revised to 138 for victory.
Cook made 58 to continue his fine one-day form while Bopara, hit a glorious 52 not out to see England home. The 27-year-old must now be favourite to take the number six spot for the three-match Test series against South Africa that begins later this month.
England extended their record breaking one-day winning run to ten consecutive matches with the latest victory but remain third in the ICC one-day world rankings behind Australia and South Africa.