England XI 408-4 (Pietersen 110ret) v
Tour Match, Ahmedabad, Day One
England’s batsmen dominated the Haryana attack on day one of their final tour game before the first Test, which starts in a week’s time. Kevin Pietersen continued his “reintegration” program with a dazzling century, while Alastair Cook, Nick Compton and Ian Bell all made half-centuries as England XI closed on 408 for four.
England went into the game with what is likely to be their first Test batting line-up, meaning that Compton has won the battle with Joe Root for the opener’s berth, and Samit Patel will take his place at number six.
However, for various reasons, the bowling attack for this match is very much a second-string one. Graeme Swann is back in England with his ill daughter, while Steven Finn and Stuart Broad have injuries, and James Anderson is rested. This meant that Stuart Meaker got his first run out of the tour, and Graham Onions, Tim Bresnan and Monty Panesar all played.
Nonetheless, for all the concerns about the bowling attack, it was the turn of the batsmen to attempt to allay concerns held about them today. Facing a Haryana attack, which was missing two of its members from the side that lost its opening Ranji Trophy game last week, they were barely troubled.
Alastair Cook won the toss and then added 166 with Nick Compton in just 34 overs for the first wicket. Cook was the aggressor, reaching 97 before departing to off-spinner Jayant Yadav, while Compton was the first of two wickets for former India leg-spinner and Haryana captain Amit Mishra when he was trapped in front 18 overs later for 74.
Jonathan Trott fell four short of his half-century and it was then over to Pietersen. He struck 110 off only 94 balls, hitting 16 fours and three sixes in the process, as he dominated a fourth-wicket partnership of 147 with Ian Bell. Pietersen retired, sporting a slight limp, a short while before stumps, but Bell remained on 57 not out off 82 balls and was joined by Samit Patel, who reached 11.
England will probably declare either overnight or in the first session tomorrow and it will then be up to their bowlers, who will all be eager to position themselves as “next cab off the rank”, should Stuart Broad of Steven Finn be ruled out for the first Test.
© Cricket World 2012
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