Confidence high for Bopara
Ravi Bopara feels both he and England are playing their best ever cricket as they look to take the series with Australia on Wednesday.
England's victory in the second ODI at the Oval on Sunday gave them a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series against the Baggy Greens and victory at Edgbaston in mid-week will wrap up affairs with two games still to play. Alastair Cook's men have now won eight consecutive 50-over contests against the combined forces of Pakistan, West Indies and the Aussies and appear full of confidence. Kevin Pietersen's decision to retire from one-day cricket shocked the cricketing world and left many wondering how England would fill his sizeable boots. But Ian Bell's return at the top of the order, plus runs from Cook, Jonathan Trott, Eoin Morgan and Bopara himself last time out, have seen them down all-comers in recent months. England have always threatened to perform well in the shortened version of the game but have usually taken one step forward and two steps back, but Bopara feels that the current crop of stars are the real deal and possibly the best there has been. "I think this is probably the best side we've ever had," he said. "The bowlers are performing really well, putting pressure on batsmen and then there's always someone in the top six who goes on and gets a big score." The jury was very much out on the Essex man before his knock of 82 helped England chase down Australia's target in the second ODI as he has looked a bit out of his depth in recent matches, but the 27-year-old believes he is now right at the top of his game after ironing out a few flaws. "I told myself just to watch the ball, and hit it, and I play my best when I do that," he added. "I think I'm batting the best I ever have. A few changes that I've made over these last six months have really worked for me."