Openers give England a steady start (Lunch Report)

December 11th, 2008 - 1:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Harbhajan SinghChennai, Dec 11 (IANS) England made slow but steady progress to reach 63 without loss at lunch on the first day of the first RBS Cup cricket Test against India at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here Thursday.Openers Andrew Strauss and Alistair Cook, both on 31, batted quite solidly against an India attack that looked a bit flat after England captain Kevin Pietersen decided to bat.

There was very little in the pitch although it offered some bounce in the first hour, but Strauss and Cook were in no difficulty in handling either the new ball or spin.

Fast bowlers Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma kept the batsmen on a leash and the runs came in trickles before the openers pounced on some loose deliveries to get the score moving.

The introduction of spin after eight overs in the form of Harbhajan Singh made little impression on the proceedings, but when leg-spinner Amit Mishra came on after 18 overs, Strauss swept him twice in his first over to raise England’s 50 while providing the much needed momentum to the innings.

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni opted for pace at one end with Zaheer and Ishant alternating while Harbhajan and Mishra bowled from the other end.

Earlier, the teams observed two minutes silence in honour of the victims of the Mumbai terror attacks.

As expected, India brought in Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh in place of Murali Vijay and the retired Sourav Ganguy who were part of the team that played Australia in the last Test at Nagpur.

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