Cook leads England XI's reply with brilliant century

Mumbai, Oct 31 (IANS) Captain Alastair Cook led a strong reply with an unbeaten 122 as England XI made 286 for four in their first innings against India A on the second day of the first practice match at the Brabourne Stadium here Wednesday.

Cook and Samit Patel (82 batting) added 153 runs for the unfinished fifth-wicket stand that helped England reduce the deficit to 83 runs in reply to India A's 369 all out.

It was a strong batting performance by England despite a poor start.

England lost opening batsman Nick Compton in the second over with wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha taking an easy catch behind the stumps off Ashok Dinda (1/46).

But Cook and Jonathan Trott (56) added 97 runs for the second innings that brought back England on track.

India A skipper Suresh Raina broke the partnership by removing Trott with his part-time off-spin.

Double strikes for Yuvraj Singh saw England slump from 97 for two to 133 for four. Kevin Pietersen (23) again proved his vulnerability to left-arm spin, with Yuvraj taking a good catch off his own bowling. Pietersen, however, showed his class during his brief stay hitting three fours and a six.

Yuvraj again struck in his next over to get rid of Ian Bell (5) to leave England in deep trouble.

But from then on Cook and Patel dominated the proceedings. Both the batsmen took their own time and waited to punish the poor deliveries.

Cook hit 13 boundaries in his 251-ball knock while Patel hit 12 in his 145-ball innings.

Earlier in the day, the India A innings lasted just one ball with R. Vinay Kumar being trapped leg-before by James Anderson (2/65).

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