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Page last updated at 15:33 GMT, Friday, 10 April 2009 16:33 UK

Leaner Blackwell hits Durham ton

MCC v Durham 311-4 (day two, stumps)
Match scorecard

Ian Blackwell
Blackwell has spoken to national selector Geoff Miller about fitness

Persistent drizzle meant just 70 minutes of play was possible on the second day in the MCC v Durham match.

There was, however, enough time for former Somerset skipper Ian Blackwell to complete his century as the county side reached 311-4 at Lord's.

Durham began the day on 244-4 with Blackwell on 63 and he finished up with 102 not out for his new county, captain Will Smith reaching an unbeaten 71.

Blackwell lost 10kg during the winter, looking to rekindle England ambitions.

The left-hander, who is also a useful slow bowler, played the last of 34 one-day internationals on the tour of India in 2006.

He said after his innings on Friday: "I am very pleased to get some runs in my first game and against a good bowling attack as well. This is a new challenge: I wanted to get my name back in lights and play for England again.

"I thought perhaps a change of county would test me and force me out of my comfort zone and help me progress with my cricket. As soon as I stop thinking I can play for England then I may as well retire.

"In my mind, if you're going to play the game you have to play at the highest level."

Weight became an issue this winter when Samit Patel was axed from the England one-day squad for his attitude towards fitness.

BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce

While Nottinghamshire's Patel - who fulfils a similar role to Blackwell - has been making his own pledges to trim down, the ex-Somerset man admitted lifestyle decisions may have hindered him in the past.

"I am one of those guys that rarely turns down a drink or the chance to go out, but I do look after myself a little bit better than I have done in the past," he added.

"Perhaps I haven't given myself the chance of playing at the highest level through my fitness. I have told [national selector Geoff Miller] I still want to play for England and he gave me the run-down of what the requirements were for international cricket and what was expected of all the players."

Blackwell reached three figures from 102 balls on a grey morning when he pushed Yorkshire seamer Tim Bresnan for two runs through the covers and was congratulated by fifth-wicket partner Smith.

Both men gained boundaries from thick edges off Sajid Mahmood after Smith had become the third batsman of the innings to pass 50.

The captain's was comfortably the slowest of the lot, coming in more than three hours at the crease.

Michael Vaughan and Ian Bell will hope for brighter weather in the remaining two days of the match if they are to boost their international ambitions in any way.

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see also
MCC v Durham photos
09 Apr 09 |  Counties
Blackwell shines in season opener
09 Apr 09 |  Counties
Vaughan misses out on tour place
29 Dec 08 |  England
Vaughan handed England contract
09 Sep 08 |  England
Khan & Bell star in England draw
23 Feb 09 |  England

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