England take control

On the second day at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, England managed to bowl out the President’s XI for 252 and thus gained a 47 run lead. The visitors then began their second innings and ended up on 30 for 1, the only casualty being Andrew Strauss who didn’t manage to score.

The main story of the President XI’s innings was the batsmen getting starts, but not converting into fifties and centuries. Kukreja and Uthappa, the openers, both scored slowly and played and missed several times for over an hour, but ended up failing on 18 and 19 respectively.

The England bowlers didn’t fire on all cylinders straight away in the morning, but Harmsion was extracting a good deal of bounce from the pitch, however, he clearly wasn’t at his most hostile. Matthew Hoggard couldn’t find much swing in the conditions, and Simon Jones only ambled in from his run-up, causing the batsmen little difficulty.

In Harmison’s second spell, however, he bowled with a lot more pace and put more effort into his deliveries. Soon he got an edge from Uthappa, who’d managed to cut a few streaky shots away earlier in his innings, and he continued the spell fiercely, fracturing Amol Muzumdar’s thumb. This forced Muzumdar to permanently retire hurt.

Hiken Shah and Hrishikesh Shende both resumed the innings after lunch, but Shende soon went when he edged to slip, leaving Shah and Wilkin Mota at the crease.

Shah and Mota both played confidently for a 55 run stand. They attacked the spinner at one end and were content with seeing the seamers off at the other. Mota eventually went when he was caught in two minds coming down the track to the previously innocuous Blackwell.

Run-outs accounted for three President’s XI wickets: Kukreja was run out by Pietersen who hit the stumps directly from cover, Indulkar for just 1 by Vaughan who also hit directly at the strikers end from mid-on, and Shah collided in the middle of the pitch whilst attempting a third run, leaving Flintoff to do the rest.

The President’s XI were 162 for 6 at one stage, but Samant wasn’t prepared to bide his time at the crease, and immediately skewed a pull off of Simon Jones over Geraint Jones. However, Harmison’s short balls against Samant were negated well by confident hooking behind square, and Samant finally got the half-century his aggressive performance deserved.

Blackwell plugged away, and ended up with four wickets after dismissing three members of the tail. Monty Panesar, who is replacing Ashley Giles, bowled tidily and picked up a single wicket.

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