Raina defends team without frontline spinner

Raina and Yuvraj shared three spin wickets between them on Day 2 of their game against England XI.

Mumbai: India A skipper Suresh Raina Wednesday defended the composition of his team which has no front-line spinner, saying he and Yuvraj Singh bowled well against England in the warm-up game here.

“We bowled really well, (Ashok) Dinda, myself and Yuvraj (Singh). Yuvraj and myself, we bowled 40 overs and got two and one wicket, respectively... Manoj Tiwary also bowled well,” said Raina.

England rode on captain Alastair Cook’s unbeaten 112 and half-centuries from Jonathan Trott and Samit Patel to make 286 for 4 in reply to India A’s 369 in their first innings.

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Raina sent back Trott with his off-break while Yuvraj, also a part-time bowler, picked up the wickets of key England batsmen Kevin Pietersen (23) and Ian Bell (5), having made a fine 59 Wednesday. However, Cook and Patel (82 batting) put together a crucial, unfinished stand of 153 for the fifth wicket to stem the rot.

Though Raina and Yuvraj bowled only 16 overs each, the tally bowled by part-timers rose to 38 with Manoj Tiwary and Murali Vijay sending down four and two overs, respectively.

Raina, who is fighting for the No.6 slot in the Test team with Yuvraj, also praised Cook’s effort and said the left-handed opening batsman seemed to be on a roll.

“He (Cook) is looking solid. He will definitely score a lot of runs this season. He has been batting really well since last two, two-and-a-half years. I wish him luck. Hopefully, he will not do well against India,” he said.

About Pietersen being dismissed once again by Yuvraj, whose bowling the South African-born player has described as ‘pie-chucking’, Raina said the two flamboyant players had a good laugh at the end of the day.

“He has had a few successes against KP. He was very happy (with the dismissal). They both had a laugh later,” said Raina.

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