Bopara joins the list of English legends!

ESSEX all-rounder Ravi Bopara joined the illustrious company of four English greats when he scored his third Test century in successive innings against the West Indies last week. Bopara, who was born in Forest Gate, can now be mentioned in the same breath

ESSEX all-rounder Ravi Bopara joined the illustrious company of four English greats when he scored his third Test century in successive innings against the West Indies last week.

Bopara, who was born in Forest Gate, can now be mentioned in the same breath as Graham Gooch, Geoffrey Boycott, Denis Compton and Herbert Sutcliffe after making 108 as England clinched a series win.

His milestone was hailed by former England opener Boycott, who made his three hundreds against Australia and Pakistan back in 1971.

"If he (Bopara) has as long and as illustrious career as all the people in front of him, if he has all the enjoyment that I and Graham Gooch can speak for, I know that he will have a fantastic time," said Boycott, who now commentates for Channel Five and Test Match Special.


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"He will be a fine batsman for supporters to watch and for England, and I thought his innings, on an easy pitch to play, was constructed well.

"He sussed out the pitch, knew it was a more grafting pitch where you have to pick up your ones and twos rather than get too many fours."

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What made Bopara's feat even more impressive though was that he came into the series on the back of three consecutive Test ducks in his last appearances out in Sri Lanka, a fact that spurred the former Brampton Manor pupil on.

"Sri Lanka was something that will stick with me forever," he said. "I can be on 60 or 70 not out, and then remember those hard times in Sri Lanka and it gives you that little bit more fire in the belly to go on and make a big score."

Bopara also paid tribute to his Essex mentor Gooch, who has had a massive impact on his short England career to date.

"Graham was a fantastic player, so I wouldn't mention myself alongside him, but he has helped me so much and is a great bloke," he said.

"He got a pair at the very start of his Test career and so did I. He sent me a text saying congratulations so it makes me happy to see him happy."

Bopara wasn't the only Essex man celebrating at the Riverside this week as opener Alastair Cook scored his ninth Test century, sharing in a partnership of 213 with his county team-mate for the second wicket.

It was a welcome return to form for Cook, who had gone 27 innings without a hundred before making three figures in the Caribbean over the winter, so he was pleased not to have to wait so long this time.

"It was a hard 12 months not getting a hundred, it was frustrating, but at least I was scoring 50s and 60s, it makes you appreciate them a bit more," said Cook, who was delighted with Bopara's form in the Test match arena.

"We've all known how good Ravi is, I've never seen someone work as hard on his game - he's brilliant and hopefully he can be a superstar for a long time.

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