England wrap up big win

England’s tour game against the Cricket Club of India President’s XI finished with the touring side skittling their hosts for just 75, with the match having previously looked set to coast to a dull draw. Six bowlers took second-innings wickets as an inexperienced batting lineup crumbled in just 26.2 overs.

Earlier in the day, England’s batsmen had gained some valuable time in the middle, with Marcus Trescothick striking an effortless 88, complete with 11 boundaries and two sixes. Despite being dropped on 44, Trescothick looked in good touch as he progressed serenely, until he lofted one to mid-off just as he seemed set for a century.

Ian Blackwell pushed his claim for a Test spot further, following his four-wicket haul in the first innings with a characteristic innings of 59. He came in at number seven in the order after a reshuffle, and quickly set about sweeping and driving the spinners with imperious power. He struck six fours and four big sixes in his 73-ball innings, which could well have cemented his place at number eight in the England order when the first Test starts on March 1.

England’s bowlers got some worthwhile exercise in the second President’s XI innings, as the home side’s target of 314 in one session was clearly unreachable from the start. Eight bowlers were used, including all three spinners, with Simon Jones claiming 2-9 from five overs and fellow paceman Steve Harmison nabbing 2-3.

The story of the spinners was an intriguing one. Monty Panesar was the first of the three used, and he finished with 2-15 from four overs – Blackwell, however, took two wickets in eight balls for no runs. Shaun Udal only bowled one over, and although it was a maiden, he seems to be falling behind in the race between the three for a Test spot.

The innings was wrapped up swiftly, with England’s bowlers rewarded for the extra effort they put in compared to their first-innings performance. Simon Jones bowled at a much faster pace, and Liam Plunkett managed three overs, despite missing the first innings with flu. Overall, England will have gained some confidence from a win which, as well as providing some valuable selection pointers, will prepare them well for a tougher test against a strong Indian Board President’s XI starting on Thursday.

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