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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 March 2006, 11:39 GMT
England struggle on rain-hit day
Second Test, Mohali, day one (stumps):
England 163-4 v India

Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen's fifth Test half century was the highlight of day one
England failed to build on some good foundations against India on a disrupted first day in the second Test.

More than two hours were lost to the weather as the tourists limped to 163-4 after winning the toss in Mohali, with Kevin Pietersen's 64 the highlight.

He and Ian Bell (38) put on 81 before Bell fell to Anil Kumble and debutant Munaf Patel snagged Pietersen late on.

Irfan Pathan dismissed openers Andrew Strauss (18) and Alastair Cook (17) in successive overs before lunch.

Once stand-in captain Andrew Flintoff called the toss of the coin correctly for the second time in this series, England knew they must build a big total.

But Flintoff, who celebrated the birth of his second child overnight, was batting by the close, having just got off the mark with a boundary.

With him was first Test centurion Paul Collingwood, unbeaten on 19 from 46 deliveries.

Kumble was one of three spinners in the India side, including debutant Piyush Chawla, at 17 the second-youngest debutant ever for India.

I looked to play straighter and give less chances, yet still score runs and be positive
Kevin Pietersen

With Sri Sreesanth suffering from a virus, they handed pace bowler Patel his first cap and brought batsman Yuvraj Singh back from injury, replacing Mohammad Kaif and VVS Laxman.

Meanwhile England replaced one of their slow bowlers, Ian Blackwell, with an extra seamer in Liam Plunkett.

Despite a start delayed 45 minutes by rain, Flintoff's decision to bat first looked correct as England's openers began well, but they soon grew over-confident.

Strauss threw his bat at a delivery swinging away and well-wide to get a toe-end to diving wicket-keeper Mahendra Dhoni.

In his next over, Pathan set Cook up with an out-swinger then had him falling over a straighter delivery.

Pietersen punished Chawla early on, with a four and six off successive deliveries after the lunch break.

Irfan Pathan
Pathan made the most of the swing on offer early in the day

He survived a chance on 39, when Pathan could have felt aggrieved not to have had an lbw appeal upheld as it swung in to hit pad before bat.

Bell showed some signs of a return to form with six boundaries, including a sweet cover drive off Pathan. He looked less assured against the slower bowlers, though.

Under heavy cloud cover he made a vital error before play was halted for the first time, the Warwickshire man left alone a googly that clipped the top of off stump.

After a 105-minute delay, another hour was possible, in which Pietersen passed 50 for the seventh time in just his 10th Test, square-driving Pathan for his ninth boundary.

After struggling to impress for much of the day, however, Patel returned with more pace and a hint of reverse-swing.

He took a lightning catch to his left to end a confident innings, and leave England pleased to accept bad light for a second time, 25 minutes early.

With almost 40 overs being lost on Thursday, play will start at 0400 GMT for the remaining four days to make up for lost time.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: England batsman Kevin Pietersen



ENGLAND SQUAD GUIDE
 

INDIA SQUAD GUIDE
 

SEE ALSO
India grounds profiled
13 Feb 06 |  Cricket
England in India 2006
08 Dec 05 |  Future tour dates


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