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Images: Rain interrupts England's charge

Last updated on: August 19, 2011 09:06 IST

Images: Rain interrupts England's charge

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- Scorecard

An insipid Indian bowling line-up had yet another torrid day as England scored 75 without loss on the opening day of the fourth and final Test before persistent rain brought a premature end to the proceedings. 

Only 26 overs could be bowled on the opening day before the heavens opened up at The Oval during the lunch break. 

After an inspection at 4.38 pm (local time), the umpires decided to call off the day's play.

Earlier, on Thursday, England captain Andrew Strauss won the toss and elected to bat.

India made one change from the side that lost by an innings and 242 runs at Edgbaston last week, left-arm pace bowler RP Singh coming in as a replacement for medium-pacer Praveen Kumar, who injured his thumb while batting in the third Test.

England were unchanged after strike bowler James Anderson was passed fit to play despite concerns over a right thigh strain which persuaded the selectors to call up Graham Onions to the squad as cover.

England lead the series 3-0.


Image: England captain Andrew Strauss (L) tosses the coin, as India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni calls before the fourth and final Test at The Oval ground in London
Photographs: Reuters
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R P Singh back after three years

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England's hero of the third Test Alastair Cook survived a loud leg before shout in R P Singh's second over. The batsman, who scored 294 at Edgbaston last week, celebrated by guiding the next ball between third slip and gully for his first boundary. 

RP is back in the Indian Test team after a three-year gap. His last Test was against South Africa in Ahmedabad, in April 2008.

Strangely, he was preferred ahead of Munaf Patel, who was in the original squad. RP was included as a late replacement for Zaheer Khan.


Image: Rudra Pratap Singh, who replaced an injured Praveen Kumar, appeals unsuccessfully for the wicket of Alastair Cook
Photographs: Getty Images
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Cook-Strauss in 31 fifty-plus partnerships

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With the Indian bowling looking pedestrian Cook and Strauss slowly, but steadily, stepped up the scoring.

A couple by Cook off Sreesanth helped bring up England's 50, without loss, after 16 overs.

Cook and Strauss have now been involved in 31 fifty-plus partnerships, a record for England batting pairs. 27 of those have come for the first wicket


Image: Andrew Strauss plays the ball on the leg side
Photographs: Getty Images
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Ishant has Strauss in bit of bother

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Strauss took one in his helmet in Ishant's fifth over.

The bouncer, bowled at 76.1 mph, had England's captain in a spot of bother. He tried to pull off the front foot and got smashed on the helmet, prompting him to call for a new one.

Strauss was on 24 at that stage.


Image: Strauss tries to avoid a bouncer from Ishant Sharma but is hit on the helmet

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Strauss, Cook severe on Sreesanth

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Sreesanth was clearly uncomfortable bowling to left-handers. He tended to bowl too straight to both Cook and Strauss and was hit for most boundaries -- four -- during the morning session.

In fact, Strauss was severe on the Kerala pacer, hitting him for two delightful boundaries in one over, one a straight delivery past the square-leg fence and then getting his stride forward to stroke one back past the bowler.


Image: Sreesanth despairs after Alastair Cook plays and misses
Photographs: Getty Images
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Rains play spoilsport

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However, play was called off because of torrential rain which begun during the lunch break.

Play was held up due to rain during the lunch break, prompting the groundstaff to bring in the covers, but after an inspection, the umpires decided to call off the day's play.

Opting to bat, England were comfortably placed at 75 for no loss.


Image: Covers on the field as the days play is called off

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