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Cook, Patel guide England to a position of strength in Tour game against India 'A'

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alastair_cookEngland came back well on day 2 of their Tour match against India 'A' to wrap up the hosts' innings immediately and get some valuable batting practice at the Brabourne Stadium. Skipper Alastair Cook led from the front with an unbeaten century (112 from 251 balls) as England ended the day at 286/4, trailing by 83 runs with 6 wickets in hand. No Indian pacer except Ashok Dinda managed a wicket, the other wickets were picked up by part timer spinners.

The very first ball of day 2 saw James Anderson wrap up the India A innings as he trapped Vinay Kumar leg before. The last pair managed to add 22 runs nonetheless. After the quick innings break, Cook and Nick Compton took the crease. Compton has been looked at as Andrew Strauss' replacement at the top of the order, however, he failed to impress today, getting out for a third ball duck off Ashok Dinda's bowling as he nicked one to Wriddhiman Saha. Jonathan Trott and Cook had a solid partnership after that. They played cautiously but punished the bad balls. England went for lunch at 79/1.

Post lunch, Trott brought up his fifty cutting Parvinder Awana for a four, his ninth. However, after his fifty, Trott lost concentration and was bowled by Suresh Raina for 56. This was much unexpected from a batsman like Trott.

Kevin Pietersen walked out at the fall of the second wicket at 97. Pietersen's comeback started off in pretty good fashion, he was striking the ball pretty well. He was playing almost at a run a ball, striking three fours and a six before he was dismissed for 23 (24) to long time foe Yuvraj Singh, who moved swiftly to his left to catch him off his own bowling. He was followed by Ian Bell pretty soon as he edged one to first slip and was caught by Raina off Yuvraj's bowling. England were in a spot of worry at 133/4. However, newcomer Samit Patel and Cook had other plans. They played very carefully with Cook reaching his 50 from 106 balls. Samit Patel too was very cautious to start with. They ended the post-lunch session at 186/4.

After tea, India A made many bowling changes, using as many as 8 bowlers but all in vain as they could not pick up a single wicket in the last session. Parvinder Awana was relatively underused. The other seamers bowled 12 to 16 overs each but Awana bowled only 8. Alastair Cook's patience paid off as he reached his century late in the day. Samit Patel increased his pace slightly towards the end of the day, remaining unbeaten for 82.

On the whole, day 2 belonged to England. It will be interesting to see if the India A seamers are able to use the early morning moisture tomorrow morning and pick up a few early wickets.

England, on the other hand, will look to play for as long as they can and try to get as many runs under their belt as possible.

Mini Scorecard

India A 1st Innings 369 all out (90.1 Overs, 4.10 rpo)
M Tiwary 93 (150) T Bresnan 3/59
A Mukund 73 (83) G Swann 3/90

England 1st Innings 286/4 (87 Overs, 3.28 rpo)
A Cook  112 (251) Y Singh 2/52
S Patel   82 (145) S Raina 1/43

England trail by 83 runs

File Photograph Copyright: Cormac