Finn hat-trick finishes Hyderabad
Steven Finn ended home resistance with a hat-trick to put a gloss on England’s opening victory over a Hyderabad Cricket Association XI.
In truth, it was Ravi Bopara, with 73, and Chris Woakes who did most to get their team off to a winning start as England mustered 219 all out in this first warm-up match at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium.
Woakes followed his unbeaten 46 with two wickets in two balls to break the spirit of a home reply just as Arjun Yadav was jockeying a position to challenge.
England’s top order failed to come to terms with a slow pitch, after Alastair Cook won the toss - leaving Bopara and Woakes to dig out a defendable total.
The tourists hardly made an auspicious start with the bat, and it was even more ominous for them when Finn’s first ball of the Hyderabad innings was hooked for six straight on to a whitewashed wall at deep backward-square.
Akshat Reddy’s fun did not last long, though - because he set off for a solo single in the next over and had no chance of retrieving his ground before Ian Bell’s throw came in from cover.
Captain Ravi Teja was done for pace and lost his off stump in an encouraging new-ball spell from Finn to make it 12 for two, before the match’s only half-century stand - between Yadav and Neeraj Bist. It ended when Bist poked a simple catch to cover off Samit Patel.
Both Ahmed Quadri and then wicketkeeper Ibrahim Khaleel chopped on to Woakes - but Yadav tucked into Graeme Swann with a straight six and another maximum over extra-cover.
He was run out, setting off for an unwise single and unable to get back ahead of the throw from Cook in the leg-side ring. But England still needed to keep the squeeze on effectively - until Finn made such short work of the last three men to finish with figures of 4-28.
For the record, Finn had Amol Shinde caught behind slogging and then bowled Kaneshuk Naidu and pinned Anwar Khan lbw to see the hosts off for 163 and secure an England win by 56 runs with more than three overs to spare.
By the 14th over of England’s innings, they had been 47 for four and were badly in need of some nous from Bopara and Jonny Bairstow.
Cook was first to go in his maiden tour match as England’s permanent captain, edging an attempted cut behind off left-arm seamer Anwar, who took 3-35.
Kevin Pietersen, back in the fold after being rested for last month’s home victory over India, was under way with a drive through extra-cover for four off Anwar from the third ball he faced.
But his was the first of two wickets to go with the score on 30, hitting a near half-volley hard but failing to clear mid-on - and departing with a stern look at the sluggish surface.
Cook’s opening partner Jonathan Trott had cause to do likewise when he was undone by low bounce and lost his leg stump to Naidu - and Reddy struck with his first ball, Bell feathering an edge behind trying to cut.
Bopara had hit off-spinner Shinde for a straight six, and from the outset was batting more convincingly than his team-mates.
Bairstow also shaped encouragingly, only to fall to an outstanding one-handed catch by a diving Bist at point.
Patel was more culpable, spearing a drive straight to cover - and Bopara had to shepherd the tail, with more than 20 overs still remaining.
He reached his fifty from 62 balls, with just one four to go with his six, but England were nonetheless grateful for his graft.
Bopara and Woakes shared the highest stand of the innings - 46 for the seventh wicket - until the number five was caught behind driving at some swing from Anwar in the second over of a powerplay the tourists were in no position to exploit.
Woakes and Swann then shared a handy and sensible partnership too. But off-spinner Quadri, who ended the innings with 3-25, kept the pressure on, and there were still 2.4 overs unused when last man Jade Dernbach haplessly ran himself out.