Concerns Remain For England Despite Bairstow Ton
England XI 338-6 (Bairstow 118) v
Tour Game, Mumbai, Day One
Jonny Bairstow ensured that he would be at the forefront of the selectors’ minds when it comes to finding a batsman to cover for Ian Bell when he departs on paternity leave, by hitting a fluent century on day one of England’s second warm-up match in Mumbai.
The Yorkshireman hit 118 off 177 deliveries to help England recover from a poor first session that had seen them slip to 66 for four. He added a fifth-wicket stand of 156 with middle-order rival Eoin Morgan and a further 107 with Samit Patel, who ended the day unbeaten on 59.
The day had begun poorly, with Nick Compton notching a worrying second successive low score. He did at least manage to get off the mark on this occasion, but was then bowled by right-arm seamer Kshemal Waingankar. His main rival for the opening slot come 15th November, Joe Root, didn’t fare much better. He was given a chance as England chose to rest several players - Tim Bresnan, Matt Prior, Graeme Swann, as well as their captain Alastair Cook - but could make only 28.
Ian Bell also failed for the second time on the tour, making just four, while Jonathan Trott joined Root in making 28 before becoming the first of two wickets for medium-pacer Javed Khan.
However, Bairstow, first with Morgan and then with Patel - who must now be nailed on for the number six spot come the first Test - ensured against embarrassment and England comfortably enjoyed the better of the final two sessions.
Morgan went with the score on 222 for 76, but Bairstow remained and reached three figures prior to falling shortly before the close. Patel remained and was joined by stand-in captain Stuart Broad as England reached stumps on 338 for six.
Two worries now remain for England ahead of the first Test. One is the uncertainty over the identity of their second opener, while the other is the uncertainty surrounding the fitness of Steven Finn. Graham Onions replaced him for this match, but England showed that they are concerned about his availability for the first Test by announcing that Surrey fast-bowler Stuart Meaker will fly to India as cover.
Meaker is expected to play in the final warm-up match, against Haryana on 8th November, as the England management are understood to want to rest Stuart Broad ahead of the first Test.
© Cricket World 2012
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