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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Strauss shines as Somerset dominate in draw

Strauss shines as Somerset dominate in draw

Last updated on: July 17, 2011 23:10 IST

India were left bruised and battered as they were shot out for a mere 224 in their first innings and then allowed Somerset to score at a rollicking pace before the three-day warm-up game ended in an expected tame draw on the final day in Taunton.

The world number one side, who rested a few top players including captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the only tour game, were outplayed by Somerset for most part of the day except for the brief period when Suresh Raina launched a counter-attack to score a dazzling unbeaten 103.

India were completely outplayed by the English county side in the first two days also. They go into the first Test of the four-match series starting on July 21 after being at the receiving end of a county side in the tour game.

After shooting India out for 224 in the morning session, Somerset scored at an amazing 6.34 runs per over to declare their second innings at 260 for two from just 41 overs at the tea break itself, leaving India an impossible victory target of 462.

England captain Andrew Strauss, who was featuring in the practice game as a guest player for Somerset, top-scored with an unbeaten 109 while Peter Trego also remained not out with a 57-ball blitzkrieg of 85 which was studded with seven fours and sixes apiece.

Andrew StraussIn their second innings, India were 69 for no loss before rain brought the proceedings to a close. Abhinav Mukund and Gautam Gambhir, who led the visiting side in the absence of Dhoni, were on 33 and 36 respectively when the two sides decided to end the game.

It was struggle again for the Indian bowlers on the final day with Strauss and Trego sending them for a leather hunt by raining fours and sixes in Somerset's second innings.

Strauss followed up his 78 of the first innings with an unconquered 109 in the second essay. Somerset compiled 249 runs at the cost of two wickets from 36 overs in the post-lunch session.

The sheen off Strauss innings' was off though since Zaheer Khan did not come out on the field in the second innings of the hosts. But the rest of the Indian bowling was as ineffective as it was in the first innings.

Also missing from the field was Sachin Tendulkar who chose to stay indoors during England's second innings.

The word from the dressing room though was that there is nothing wrong with the two cricketers.

Somerset, who led India by 201 runs on the first innings, were rapidly into their stride as Strauss and his opening partner Arul Suppiah had their second century stand of the match. The duo stitched 129 runs for the unbroken third wicket.

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra then managed two wickets off successive balls when Suppiah (45) and Hildreth (0) fell to catches in the close-in cordon but he was made to pay for irking the hosts.

Peter Trego, the new man in, launched into Mishra with such ferocity that the leg-spinner conceded 61 runs from a mere three overs at one stage.

Trego, in Mishra's 12th over, reaped 28 runs, hitting a four and then the next four balls for sixes before playing the last ball with a dead bat.

Mishra switched ends, even tried to bowl wides, but Trego was unstoppable.

In the morning session, Suresh Raina's counter-attacking unbeaten 103 single-handedly took India to 224 all out in their first innings.

The left-hander smashed an unbeaten 103 from just 112 balls with the help of 14 boundaries and five sixes as India conceded a 201-run lead after Somerset had posted 425 for three declared in their first innings.

The hosts, as expected, did not enforce the follow on and were 11 for no loss at lunch break. They have now taken an overall lead of 202 runs.

The visitors, resuming at 138 for eight, lost overnight batsman S Sreesanth (1) straightaway, giving left-arm paceman Charl Willoughby his sixth wicket of the innings.

This was the trigger Raina needed to throw caution to winds as he took 18 runs from Alfonso Thomas' next over from the other end -- a four, followed by a six over midwicket and two more boundaries to complete the over.

He soon was past his half century from 73 balls with nine fours and a six.

Raina then turned his attention of Willoughby and struck him for three sixes, each bigger than the previous ones as he took his chance for a three-figure knock.

The last wicket stand with Munaf Patel thus prospered before Raina drove one past a misfielding mid-off to reach his century.

Munaf was out thereafter, leg before to part-time leg spin of Max Waller, a decision the tall medium-pacer was not happy with at all.

The last wicket stand added 84 runs with overall 86 runs scored this morning out of which Raina's share was 73.

Somerset did not enforce the follow on in a bid to give another outing in the middle to England captain Strauss.

Scoreboard
Somerset 1st Innings: 425 for 3 decl
India 1st innings:
Abhinav Mukund lbw b Willoughby 18
Gautam Gambhir c Buttler b Willoughby 21
Rahul Dravid c Hildreth b Willoughby 17
Sachin Tendulkar c Buttler b Meschede 26
Yuvraj Singh lbw b Willoughby 0
Suresh Raina not out 103
Wriddhiman Saha c Buttler b Trego 0
Zaheer Khan b Thomas 15
Amit Mishra c Jones b Willoughby 6
S Sreesanth b Willoughby 1
Munaf Patel lbw b Waller 6
Extras (b-4, lb-1, w-3, nb-3) 11
Total (all out in 52.4 overs) 224
Fall of wickets: 1-32, 2-51, 3-72, 4-76, 5-89, 6-90, 7-123, 8-132, 9-140
Bowling: C Willoughby 20-7-76-6, A Thomas 15-2-83-1, P Trego 11-2-39-1, C Meschede 5-2-14-1, M Waller 1.4-0-7-1.

Somerset 2nd innings:
Andrew Strauss not out 109
Arul Suppiah c Mukund b Mishra 45
James Hildreth c Saha b Mishra 0
Peter Trego not out 85
Extras: (lb-4, w-3, nb-14) 21
Total: (For two wkts in 41 overs) 260 decl
Fall of wickets: 1-131, 2-131
Bowling: S Sreesanth 8-1-53-0, Munaf Patel 12-3-49-0, Amit Mishra 14-0-123-2, Suresh Raina 7-0-31-0.

India 2nd innings (target: 462 runs)
Abhinav Mukund not out 33
Gautam Gambhir not out 36
Total: (For 0 wkts in 16.4 overs) 69
Bowling: C Willoughby 5-2-16-0, A Thomas 2-0-5-0, C Meschede 6-0-27-0, M Waller 3.4-0-21-0.

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