Eng v Ind live: England declare after rain, The Oval, day three, afternoon

Bopara’s key innings cut short

Tea: Fourth Test, day three, The Oval
Match score: England 591-6 dec (Bopara 44*, Prior 18*, Bell 235, Pietersen 175; Sreesanth 3-123)
Full scorecard
Session score: Rain

The sun came out at half past three after two and half hours of steady rain. It was followed half an hour later by the England players who trotted down the pavilion steps dressed in their red, white and blue training gear for warm-ups and fielding practice.

That seemed to indicate a declaration was impending though the word around the commentary boxes was that England were concerned the outfield was too wet and not conducive to bowling or fielding. News that a further inspection would take place at 4.30 was greeted by inevitable booing.

It was soon announced they had declared which given England’s ultra-conservative tendency – their only obvious flaw – seemed somewhat out of character. With 33 overs left in this elongated day, the game could be well advanced by the close.

Poor Ravi Bopara. He was 44 not out at lunch, having played nicely, with the whole afternoon, and the Oval stage, to himself to press on towards his fourth Test century.

After the loss of a session, though, he will probably settle for the ‘red-inker’ as the pros call a not-out, because he simply would not have time to play himself back in and bat properly. When will his next Test innings be?

John Stern is a former editor of The Cricketer
Follow him on Twitter @Cricketer_John

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