Bopara’s performance in first Test against Proteas puts his position in doubt

Updated: Jul 25, 2012, 11:42 AM IST

London:England batsman Ravi Bopara’s performance in the first Test against South Africa has put a question mark on his abilities of being a successful Test cricketer.

England will be slightly disappointed, particularly with Ravi Bopara, who got a duck on his return to the Test team.

Bopara is a very talented player, and one who is in form because he played well in the recent one-day series against Australia, but he has always had this question mark about the way he starts his innings in Tests.

Resuming play on day five, England simply had to bat all day to avoid defeat and in truth, they looked like they could manage it as they continued after lunch having lost just one wicket.

Ian Bell was grittily forging an innings and Matt Prior supported him as the hosts dared to believe that they could pull off another remarkable result, just as they had twice against the same opponents in the southern hemisphere.

But it wasn``t to be as England once more capitulated, the final five wickets falling for just 37 runs.

“Bopara has had worse moments in an England shirt, his first-ever series against Sri Lanka was an embarrassment, but this was arguably his most costly failure, and his record is starting to read like that of a player who will never cut it at the top level,”

“With averages of 15, 11 and 8 against Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka his test statistics belie a great talent. But the reality is that - as shown by his 118 average against the West Indies - while the batting ability is there, the mental fortitude to cope against the best in the world may not be,”

Bopara was not the only one guilty of this, Matt Prior``s sweep was unnecessary, as was Andrew Strauss’s but their positions in this side is not in doubt.