Runs flow for dominant England
Kevin Pietersen led the way with a powerful 94-ball 110 as England made hay against a modest Haryana attack in their final warm-up game ahead of the first Test with India.
Runs proved easy to come by for the tourists, who closed on 408 for four with Pietersen having retired towards the end of the opening day in order to give others an opportunity to gain time in the middle.
Alastair Cook, who fell three short of a second successive century, and Nick Compton shared 166 for the opening wicket in quick time and there was to be no respite for Haryana as Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell also cashed in on an even batting surface.
Trott’s 46 represented the lowest score in England’s top five, with Compton reaching 74 and Bell unbeaten on 57 at stumps.
Bell had good reason to be pleased with his own batting, after a slow start to the tour, particularly because he had to begin his innings against frontline spin - an unusual state of affairs for England’s middle order to date, but one they know will be routine once the Tests begin.
“It was good to start against a quality spinner like (Amit) Mishra, play against him early in my innings - the sort of thing that is going to happen in the Test matches,” Bell said.
“He’s played a lot of Test cricket. To start against him was exactly what I needed going into this Test match.”
Bell’s method was to go immediately on the attack, almost from ball one.
“I feel confident coming down the wicket ... I just want to be busy,” he added.
“We’ve talked quite a lot about using your feet, forward and backwards, so it was just trying to get as much good footwork going as possible.
“We’ve faced a lot of seam on this tour so far, and we can’t control what we come up against. But Mishra’s actually bowled a few overs in the end, which is great for Kevin and me to spend a bit of time against him.”
Only a solitary over of spin was employed during the morning session, Haryana captain Mishra initially sticking to India’s apparent plan to deprive England of meaningful practice against slow bowling.
Cook, who sat out the game against Mumbai A after compiling a hundred in the tour opener, wasted little time in stamping his authority on proceedings after winning the toss.
Among his 20 fours were three in an over against Sanjay Budhwar, including an uncharacteristically expansive cover-drive.
There was scarcely an alarm for the captain or Compton, who gradually grew in stature and drove well through the off-side before lofting off-spinner Jayant Yadav over long-off to reach his half-century.
Pietersen and Bell would later bring up their own fifties in the same manner, epitomising England’s dominance.
Cook was within one blow of three figures when he edged Yadav behind to be caught by Sandeep Singh, who had just replaced the injured Nitin Saini as wicketkeeper.
Mishra - a leg-spinner boasting 13 Test caps - eventually brought himself into the attack and had Compton lbw with his seventh delivery, a quicker one that beat the opener’s defensive push.
Trott also fell leg before to Mishra when sweeping shortly after tea, but Pietersen and Bell then combined to excellent effect.
It was Bell who initially took up the attack, the Warwickshire batsman clearing the ropes off Mishra during a confident start to his innings.
Pietersen was soon in full flow, however, and he even unveiled a new shot - a ‘reverse-scoop’ perhaps the closest description - to manufacture runs fine on the off side when Yadav returned.
Haryana had their chances to remove Pietersen; Yadav spilled a sharp return chance on 42, while Amit Vashisht was guilty of a poor drop in the deep as the 32-year-old neared a century.
Such errors merely summed up a day when England were able to saunter into a position of control.