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Page last updated at 17:49 GMT, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 18:49 UK

Cook shines for below-par England

Three-day match, Edgbaston (day one, close):
England 290-8 dec v Warwickshire 31-1

Date: 1-3 July Coverage: Live scorecard and match report on the BBC Sport website and Live commentary on BBC Radio WM
Match scorecard


Alastair Cook
Cook was in good form a week before the first Test

A century from Alastair Cook was the only high point for England on the first day of their three-day Ashes warm-up match against Warwickshire.

The opener made 124 and left England on a respectable 217-4 at tea, but the next five wickets fell for 77 runs before the declaration.

Andrew Flintoff, who was disciplined for missing the team bus during last week's trip to Belgium, made 19.

The county side finished on 31-1 after James Anderson took a late wicket.

Despite facing an under-strength Warwickshire bowling attack, centurion Cook said the workout was invaluable.

606: DEBATE

"If this game wasn't on, Essex don't have a first-class game this week, so I would have had no practice," said Cook, who hit 21 boundaries in his innings.

"You can have as many throwdowns as you want, but being in the middle is far better practice. It is good to get together this week with such an important series coming up.

"Warwickshire were quite intense, but for them it's a great chance to play against England. A couple of performances from players, with the media attention... it pushes your name forward."

Flintoff arrived at the crease with the scores at 229-5, with captain Andrew Strauss (31), Cook and Ravi Bopara (43) all back in the pavilion after getting England off to a good start.

They were joined by Kevin Pietersen, who fell after making just a single, and Paul Collingwood (16).

The Lancashire all-rounder started with a thick edge for four off 25-year-old seamer Naqaash Tahir, who had not played a Championship match since last August.

It's nice that he is honest and you could see the regret in his face for what he's caused

Cook on Flintoff

He hit three more boundaries - two of them all-run affairs - before he was caught at second slip off Tahir, surprised by the extra bounce. The bowler ended up with an excellent return of 3-54, his other wickets being those of Strauss and Matt Prior for 10.

Cook said Flintoff had settled back into the England fold after apologising to the team for the incident during their trip to the First World War trenches.

"It's been fine," added Cook. "He made a mistake, he said he's sorry, we look to move on as a team. It's nice that he is honest and you could see the regret in his face for what he's caused."

England's batting was not hugely convincing at times - Strauss surviving one dropped slip catch before a second was safely snaffled, Bopara mistiming a pull, Pietersen and Prior nicking catches and a very scratchy Collingwood being bowled by the former Blackburn and Rochdale striker Keith Barker.

The former football pro, now re-invented as a tidy left-arm seamer, was able to celebrate a significant maiden wicket in first-class cricket.



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see also
Ashes warm-up photos
04 Jul 09 |  England
Hussey ton helps Aussies recover
01 Jul 09 |  Australia
Flintoff stars in Lancashire win
25 Jun 09 |  Counties
Ashes hero Vaughan calls it quits
30 Jun 09 |  Cricket
Flintoff shines on shock return
11 Jun 09 |  Lancashire
I'll be fit for Ashes - Flintoff
09 Jun 09 |  England
Injured Flintoff out of Twenty20
27 May 09 |  England
Moores backs Flintoff inclusion
18 Jun 09 |  England
Injury progress lifts Pietersen
25 Jun 09 |  Cricket


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