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England continued to get some terrific match practice against Haryana in their last tour game before they collide with India in the first test of the series, starting in under a week. The England bowlers were largely on the money today, dismissing Haryana for 333 to take a first innings lead of 188. Haryana though made sure the English earned every wicket they took, while Rahul Dewan defied the England bowlers, remaining unbeaten on 144. After finally managing to dismiss Haryana, Jonathan Trott and Nick Compton walked out to have a bat and played out the last session of day 3 quite patiently. England ended the day at 118/0 with both openers bringing up their half centuries.
England struck early in the morning. Once again, Tim Bresnan managed to get something out of the surface dismissing Sandeep Singh for just 5, caught by Captain Cook at first slip.
Skipper Amit Mishra walked in at the fall of the early wicket. Mishra looked to score quick runs, he struck 3 fours making a speedy 17 runs, before edging one to Matt Prior as Stuart Meaker got his first wicket for England. Rahul Dewan looked solid at the other end, playing his strokes carefully. He did have his share of luck as well, when he was put down by Cook at first slip. However, he quickly brushed that off and got to his century in 236 balls.
Stuart Meaker struck once again before lunch, this time going through the defence of Jayant Yadav (17). He would have had another one in his bag but Matt Prior failed to hold on to a catch down the leg side and Amit Vashisht survived to see lunch at 256/7.
Post lunch, Vashisht was put down once more, this time by Compton off Onions when he was on 11. However, he was trapped in front by Samit Patel a couple of overs later for 16. Following this, Dewan and Chandrapal Saini had a very patient ninth wicket partnership of 62. Saini was playing only his second first class match but displayed great perseverance and care. The partnership lasted nearly 20 overs. Saini managed a valuable 35 before being dismissed leg before by Meaker. The last man, Sanjay Budhwar, departed for a duck a couple of overs later and was called with the end of Haryana's innings.
After tea, Captain Cook decided to give himself a break, having found form in the series already. Jonathan Trott and Nick Compton walked out to open instead. Both batsmen were extremely cautious as this was their last bit of match practice before the first test. They were very selective in their stroke making. They played out the last session scoring 118 in 38 overs. The Haryana bowlers could not get anything out of the surface. However, they managed to keep the scoring rate in check.
Leg spinner Amit Mishra did not bowl even a single over, and even off-spinner Yadav was introduced only towards the very end of the day. England played out his two overs without scoring a single run. They ended the day with a lead of 306. Their approach tomorrow will be crucial, they may want to try and win this game ahead of the test series. But they may also opt to give a few more batsmen the chance to find some form and spend time out in the middle.
One can't help but feel that India's decision not to bowl spinners in the tour games defeats the very purpose of having these matches and goes against the spirit of cricket. While winning a series is important, the way India is handling the warm-up matches is quite frankly just not cricket!
England 1st Innings 521/9 (118.2 Overs, 4.40 rpo)
K Pietersen 110 (94) A Mishra 4/67
Haryana 1st Innings 333 all out (113.4 Overs, 2.92 rpo)
R Dewan 144* (320) T Bresnan 3/67
England 2nd Innings 118/0 (38 Overs, 3.10 rpo)
J Trott 61* (117) N Compton 54* (111)
England lead by 306 runs with 10 wickets in hand
File Photograph Copyright: BCB
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