England crumble in tour opener

2012-01-08 16:11
Alastair Cook (File)

Dubai - Opener Alastair Cook was the only batsman to get some good practice as England's batting crumbled against some spirited ICC Combined XI bowling in their three-day tour opener here on Sunday.

The left-hander scored 76 and held the batting together during his patient knock as none of the England batmen could score big on a slow Global Cricket Academy pitch, spurning a good chance ahead of the first Test against Pakistan starting here from January 17.

Cook added 53 for the third wicket with Kevin Pietersen (15) before England declared their first innings on 185-8.

The Combined XI finished the second day on 90-5, having an overall lead of 186. They scored 281 in their first innings.

Resuming at 16-0, England had reached 44 when skipper Andrew Strauss (17) fell to Afghanistan paceman Hamid Hassan who finished with 2-26.

Hasan also dismissed Jonathan Trott (one) with a beautiful delivery, caught behind by his fellow Afghan Mohammad Shahzad.

Cook, who hit 14 well-timed boundaries during his 121-ball knock, also fell caught behind off Namibian medium pacer Christi Viljoen.

Besides Pietersen and Trott, Ian Bell (three) and Eoin Morgan (one) also failed to get going.

Off-spinner Mohammad Nabi finished with 2-42 while Irish paceman Boyd Rankin took 2-49.

Irish openers William Porterfield and Paul Stirling flopped again as both failed to score in Combined XI's second knock, and it was left to Kyle Coetzer (31) and Shahzad (34 not out) to keep the Combined XI in a position to give England a stiff target.

Broad and James Anderson took two wickets apiece.

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