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The visiting English team got some valuable match practice in on the final day of their Tour game against an Indian reserve side in Mumbai today, though the contest itself petered out into a predictable draw. England managed to bat for more than half the day, adding 140 runs to their total, before returning to the field where their bowlers bagged four India 'A' wickets before the end of play. Samit Patel scored his maiden century for England and has strengthened his claim for inclusion in the playing eleven as a genuine allrounder.
Ashok Dinda struck early in the day yet again, removing England skipper Alastair Cook for 119. Cook added just 7 runs to his overnight score before he edged one to Wriddhiman Saha. Following Cook's dismissal, Patel and Matt Prior played some attacking cricket. Patel played at a quicker pace today compared to yesterday. He was ably assisted at the other end by Prior's aggressive stroke making. The wicket-keeper batsman hit 9 fours as he scored at nearly a-run-a-ball, making 51 from 52 deliveries before edging one off Yuvraj Singh's bowling to first slip. Patel fell in the same over (104 of 173) as he drove a delivery without getting to the pitch of it and ended up tossing up a simple catch to cover. Graeme Swann was bowled by Vinay Kumar for just 6. England though had surpassed India's score as they went to lunch at 396/8.
After lunch, Tim Bresnan accelerated further, hitting 4 fours and a six before the end of the English innings when James Anderson fell to Yuvraj after the last pair added a valuable 31 to the total. Steven Finn remained unavailable due to his thigh strain which meant that England finished at 426/9. They played considerably faster today, ending with a run rate of 3.55. Yuvraj Singh got a 5-fer but medium pacers Irfan Pathan and Parvinder Awana finished wicket-less.
Abhinav Mukund and Murali Vijay came out to open the batting once again for the hosts. Mukund was dismissed early (3 of 13) as he mishit a delivery straight to mid off to be caught by Ian Bell off Anderson. Ajinkya Rahane and Vijay shared a solid fifty run partnership before tea. They both played their strokes and looked quite confident.
India A resumed play at 66/1 after tea. Vijay was dismissed soon after (32 of 60), once again by Anderson. He was followed shortly after by Yuvraj for just 14, falling to Bresnan. Rahane reached his fifty from 98 balls striking 6 fours. He played a diligent knock but fell just before the end of play. Suresh Raina and Manoj Tiwary played out the remaining overs to end at 124/4.
England would consider themselves in a good position having received some decent match practice, albeit not having faced a specialist spinner. India 'A', on the other hand, would have wanted to wrap up England's tail earlier after Cook fell right at the start of the day. Ajinkya Rahane would be disappointed to lose his wicket a few balls before end of play. He remains one of India's brightest prospects, and most likely to break into the senior set-up.
England will play two more warm up matches before starting their campaign. They would hope that the Indian selectors do not continue to play spoilsport and deny them the opportunity of facing specialist spinners in the games to come against Mumbai and Haryana.
India A 1st Innings 369 all out (90.1 Overs, 4.10 rpo)
M Tiwary 93 (150) T Bresnan 3/59
England 1st Innings 426/9 declared (119.5 Overs, 3.55 rpo)
A Cook119 (269) Y Singh 5/94
S Patel 104 (173) A Dinda 2/86
India A 2nd Innings 124/4 (40 Overs, 3.10 rpo)
A Rahane 54 (98) J Anderson 2/20
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