India ‘A’ rallies despite initial hiccups

India ‘A’ rallies despite initial hiccups

India ‘A’ showed plenty of spunk through its middle order — and the tail wagged — as it made stumps at 369 for nine, keeping England on the field at the Brabourne Stadium for nearly six and half hours on the first day of the visitors’ first three-day match of the tour, writes G VISWANATH of The Hindu

Seamer Tim Bresnan found form with the second new ball to claim the bowling honours along with off-spinner Graeme Swann.

But it was Manoj Tiwary (93, 150b, 12×4) who was the star of the day, with his clean striking and calculated risk-taking to help his team stage a remarkable rally after the fall of the sixth wicket.

Earlier, the England XI ran out onto the ground at the historic Brabourne Stadium half an hour after the toss in splendid weather on Tuesday morning to begin a tour of India it hopes will end its run of nearly three decades without a Test series win in the country.

Understandably, there was a lot of interest around Kevin Pietersen on the first day; there was also plenty at stake for the home team with four members of the new selection committee in attendance.

Suresh Raina’s decision to bat first meant Pietersen trooped out with his teammates — under a new captain — onto the field for the first time since he was thrown out of the England Test side after the Headingley Test against South Africa.

Pietersen guarded the gully region initially almost till lunch, showing a safe pair of hands to gift Bresnan his first wicket on the tour in Ajinkya Rahane. He also sent down an over of off-breaks just before Alastair Cook took the second new ball.

Opener Vijay went soon, declared beaten by Bresnan’s under-arm throw on the follow-through.

Aafter the departure of Rehane, Abhinav Mukund and Yuvraj Singh demonstrated a fixity of purpose and, at times, dominated the England seam attack. James Anderson, Steve Finn and Bresnan did not really bend their backs, and spinners Swann and Samit Patel looked commonplace on a featherbed.

In the course of the first hour, Finn also picked up an injury and left the ground complaining of discomfort in his right leg. Though Raina fell to Patel, his colleagues Tiwary and Irfan Pathan showcased their wares in perfect batting conditions and ensured that their team posted a substantial total.

Significantly, England eventually was made to bowl the day’s quota of 90 overs, and that had not looked like a possibility when Yuvraj left his crease having gifted his wicket at the stroke of tea.

The scores: India ‘A’ — 1st innings: A. Mukund c Bell b Swann 73, M. Vijay (run out) 7, A. Rahane c Pietersen b Bresnan 4, Yuvraj  Singh st. Prior b Swann 59, S. Raina c Bell b Patel 20, M. Tiwary b Bresnan 93, W. Saha lbw b Anderson 20, I. Pathan lbw b Swann 46, Vinay Kumar (batting) 25, A. Dinda b Bresnan 0, P. Awana (batting) 11; Extras (b-1, lb-9, w-1): 11; Total (for nine wkts. in 90 overs) 369.

Fall of wickets: 1-25, 2-57, 3-113, 4-140, 5-168, 6-190, 7-300, 8-347, 9-347.

England bowling: Anderson 17-4-65-1, Finn 4-1-22-0, Bresnan 20-6-59-3, Trott 5-0-21-0, Swann 23-6-90-3, Patel 20-4-95-1, Pietersen 1-0-7-0.