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Last Updated: Monday, 25 February 2008, 07:01 GMT
Shah enhances England Test claims
Warm-up match, Dunedin: England 396-9 v NZ Invitational XI (stumps, day one of two)

Owais Shah
Shah hit back with 96 after enduring a disappointing one-day series

Batsman Owais Shah pressed his claims for a place in England's Test side with 96 in their first warm-up match ahead of the series against New Zealand.

England made 396-9 on the opening day od a two-day match against an Invitational XI at Dunedin.

Shah top-scored, while opener Alastair Cook struck 85 and Ian Bell 75 - after he had earlier retired on 59.

Andrew Strauss, vying for a place in the side with Shah, was out hit wicket to Mark Gillespie for only four.

Dropped from the Sri Lanka tour after failing to score a century in his previous 25 Test innings, Strauss fell in the ninth over.

He played a defensive shot against seamer Gillespie and, in attempting to prevent the ball from rolling back onto the stumps, hit his wicket.


Shah struggled to make an impact during the one-day series as England slipped to a 3-1 defeat and knew he needed runs to stand any chance of a Test recall.

But he suffered much better fortune than Strauss, his main rival for the remaining spot in England's top order.

Shah's first escape came as he reached 28 shortly after lunch when he appeared to edge left-arm seamer Craig Smith behind.

But the appeal was rejected and Shah progressed to 38 before being given another reprieve when he chipped a catch straight to Sam Wells at mid-on after mis-timing a drive off Mark Gillespie.

The straightforward chance was spilled and the Middlesex man recovered from the two escapes to hit 14 fours and a six before top-edging a sweep.

If I get runs [in the second warm-up] I think I will have put some pressure on the selectors

Owais Shah

"I was reasonably happy with the way I struck the ball so I can't complain," said Shah.

"It's important to get a good start, impress the selectors, the captain and the coach and try and put some runs on the board so I can put my name in the hat for selection for the first Test.

"It's still early days because we've got another three-day game against a good side to come so if I do get chance in that and get some runs then I think I will have put some pressure on the selectors to pick me for the first Test."

England are expected to declare overnight and give their bowlers a chance to impress on Tuesday.

Their next warm-up game is a three-day contest against Otago starting on Thursday, to finish off preparations for the first Test, starting on 5 March.

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