Report: England XI vs Haryana, Day 1
Ahmedabad, 08 Nov : Alastair Cook’s quandary of selecting his opening partner for the first Test, against India might just have been resolved. On Day 1 of England’s third warm-up match of the tour, against Haryana, Nick Compton pressed his case ahead of the other opening batsman in the squad, Joe Root, for a spot in the first Test with a score of 74. The day, however, was lit up by Kevin Pietersen’s stroke-filled century. 90 overs of hard toiling and leather chasing for Haryana ended with England XI on 408 for three.
After electing to bat first in Ahmedabad, Cook shared a 166-run opening stand with Compton. The England captain perished to the bowling of off-spinner Jayant Yadav, but not before he had scored an attractive 97 off 115 balls. His knock was laced with 19 hits to the fence.
Compton, then, combined with Jonathan Trott (46) in a bid to stitch another long partnership. But with the stand five short of the half-century mark, Haryana skipper and leg-spinner, Amit Mishra, scalped the Compton lbw. Trott’s innings ended in a similar manner by the same bowler.
Wickets of the first three batsmen apart, there was no joy for the Haryana bowlers as Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell dominated proceedings thereafter with a partnership of 162. Pietersen, in particular, looked in complete command of the bowling attack, as was reflected in his strike-rate of 117.02. In imperious touch, although against a lesser attack, Pietersen merrily plonked the ball for 16 fours and three sixes. He retired from the innings after making 110 from 94 balls.
Although not as attacking as Pietersen, Bell looked in good touch as well. Having recently admitting he hasn’t scored enough runs of late to match his high standards, Bell got among runs with 57 unbeaten runs off 82 balls. The nine hits to the fence – six fours and three sixes – would have given him much needed confidence for improving his ordinary batting figures in India. Bell will look to build on his innings on Day 2 as his overnight batting partner, Samit Patel (11*), will hope to get some runs under his belt.
Day 1: England XI 1st innings 408/3 in 90 overs (Cook 97, Compton 74, Pietersen 110 retd hurt; Mishra 2/50)