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Aug 18, 2011 at 10:17pm IST

4th Test: Eng 75/0 on rain-marred Day 1

London: Persistent rain on day one of the fourth Test between England and India didn't allow any play after Lunch on Thursday after the English openers took the hosts off to a strong start.

India failed to make any breakthroughs despite helpful overhead conditions as Andrew Strauss (38 not out) and Alastair Cook (34 not out) continued from where they left in Edgbaston.

Indian bowlers looked insipid against a determined Strauss-Cook duo after Dhoni was forced to make a change in the eleven, replacing the injured Praveen Kumar with left-arm pacer RP Singh, who had just flown in.

4th Test: Eng 75/0 on rain-marred Day 1

Persistent drizzle at The Oval didn't allow any play after lunch.

In the morning, India were given a wayward start by Singh, who was off target in the first over of his comeback to Test cricket, following England skipper's decision to bat first.

Singh opened the bowling with Ishant Sharma but both were unable to trouble the English pair, who chose to get their eye in before playing their shots on a relatively flat deck.

Watching Strauss and Cook having no problems, Dhoni chose to replace Ishant's pace with S Sreesanth's swing. But like his previous outings on the tour, the pacer continued to leak runs, delivering a boundary ball almost every over.

Unperturbed, Strauss and Cook brought up their fifty partnership in the 16th over, confirming the Indian bowlers' inefficacy in the opening exchanges.

Surprisingly, the Indian skipper deployed his first spin option in the form of part-timer Suresh Raina in the 23rd over, raising further doubts over his confidence in Amit Mishra who was in the eleven despite a dismal show in the third Test.

But the gamble proved futile as England reached Lunch without losing any wickets, with the scoreboard reading 75 for no loss.

However, the clouds that continued to threaten throughout the morning session finally broke open as rains lashed The Oval. Though the rain did turn into a drizzle a little later, it continued incessantly, forcing the umpires to abandon the day's play 64 overs short of the requisite 90 overs a day.

England lead the four-match series 3-0 and aim for a whitewash, which will be the first for India since the 1999-2000 Australian tour.

(Full Scorecard)

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