Strauss warms up for Test in style
Andrew Strauss warmed up for the Test series against India with a brilliant century against the Indians as three-day warm-up game against Somerset 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, 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.
After shooting India out for 224 in the morning session, Somerset scored at brisk pace -- also helped by some poor bowling by the Indians -- 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.
Strauss then 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.
In 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.
Image: Andrew Strauss reacts after completing his century against Indians in Taunton
Photographs: Getty Images
Zaheer Khan didn't bowl in the second innings
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.
Indians opted to rest Zaheer Khan in Somerset's second innings. Also missing from the field was Sachin Tendulkar who chose to stay indoors during England's second innings.
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.
Image: Amit Mishra bowls during his practice match against Somerset
Raina stands tall among the ruins
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.
Image: Suresh Raina hits a boundary during his knock against Somerset
Raina-Munaf put up 84-runs stand
Raina then decided to step on the gas and smashed Alfonso Thomas to all corners. He soon reached 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.
The last wicket stand added 84 runs with overall 86 runs scored this morning out of which Raina's share was 73.
Image: Suresh Raina celebrates after reaching his century against Somerset