CRICKET / Cook makes merry too as England amasses 408 for three
Star England batsman Kevin Pietersen prepared himself for the upcoming Test series with a strokeful 110 against Haryana in the visitors’ final warm-up game even as skipper Alastair Cook missed out on his second consecutive century, here on Thursday.
Pietersen smashed a 94-ball 110 before retiring hurt to let his colleagues get some batting practice as England reached a strong 408 for three on day one of the game.
Left-handed Cook, who did not play against Mumbai ‘A’, yet again batted splendidly but missed out on his century by three runs after electing to bat.
Ian Bell (57) and Samit Patel (11) were at the crease at the draw of stumps at the Sardar Patel Stadium ‘B’ ground. Bell has already smashed nine boundaries, including three sixes in his innings.
Except for skipper Amit Mishra, none of Haryana’s bowlers has played international cricket and both Pietersen and Cook relished the batting practice ahead of the Test grind. Mishra took two of the three England wickets to fall.
Pietersen, who hit 16 fours and three sixes, is the fourth England batsman to hit a century after arriving in India with Cook and Samit Patel reaching the three-figure mark against India ‘A’. Reserve wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow had stroked his way to a hundred against Mumbai ‘A’ in the last game.
Cook, who was dropped early in his innings, scored a boundary-filled 97 with 18 hits to the fence. Nick Compton (74) also staked a claim for the opening slot in the first Test with his second successive half-century.
The openers put on 166 before Cook was caught by wicketkeeper Sandeep Singh off spinner Jayant Yadav. Jonathan Trott replaced the skipper at the wicket and he too got some runs ahead of the first Test. In the company of Compton, Trott added 45 runs before the former was trapped in front of the wicket by Mishra.
Compton, who played 111 dot balls during his stay at the crease, hit nine boundaries and a six in his 144-ball innings.
Compton’s fall brought Pietersen to the wicket. He began with a boundary, a flick to mid-wicket off Amit Vashisht before hitting two more crisp boundaries off the spinners.
At tea, Trott was unbeaten on 45 off 76 balls with seven boundaries and Pietersen had settled well, reaching 18 off 22 balls with three boundaries.
Bell’s aggressive start
Trott fell leg before to Mishra, his second scalp, immediately after the tea-break for 46, which brought Ian Bell to the middle. Bell also started aggressively and hit a six off Mishra before hitting another four and a six of the leggie.
Bell and Pietersen attacked the Haryana bowlers relentlessly and England reached 300 in the 69th over.
England XI: A. Cook c Sandeep b Yadav 97, N. Compton lbw b Mishra 74, J. Trott lbw b Mishra 46, K. Pietersen (retd. hurt) 110, I. Bell (batting) 57, S. Patel (batting) 11, Extras (b7, lb-1, w-3, nb-2) 13; Total (for three wkts. in 90 overs) 408.
Fall of wickets: 1-166, 2-211, 3-247.
Haryana bowling: Budhwar 15-3-62-0, Vashisht 21-1-115-0, Rana 19-6-48-0, Saini 8-2-40-0, Yadav 16-1-85-1, Mishra 11-1-50-2.