Mumbai: Wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow hit a resolute century and put on a 156-run partnership with Eoin Morgan to rescue England from a precarious position on the first day of their three-day warm-up game against Mumbai A here on Saturday.
Bairstow (118) and Morgan (73) pulled England out of the woods by stitching 156 runs for the fifth wicket in just under three hours after Mumbai A bowlers had threatened to bowl the visitors out cheaply in the morning session. The right-handed Bairstow, who hit 15 fours in his stay of 261 minutes, and left-handed Morgan, who struck eight fours and a six in 191 minutes, joined hands when England were tottering at 64 for 4 at lunch and were separated only in the final session.
England consolidated their innings further when Bairstow and Samit Patel (59) put on another 107 runs for the sixth wicket to finish the opening day strongly at 338 for six wickets. Patel, who scored a century in the tourists' first warm-up game against India A, and stand-in skipper Stuart Broad (6) were the unbeaten batsmen at stumps.
In the morning, the visitors were rocked by a two-wicket burst from Kshemal Waingankar and a wicket each from first change seamer Javed Khan and captain Suryakumar Yadav, a part time spinner, after opting to bat first. Morgan and Bairstow then rallied the visiting team by batting with confidence and fluency till the former was dismissed by Shardul Thakur.
In the first hour of play, Waingankar picked up the wickets of opener Nick Compton (1) and Ian Bell (4) but was punished later on with the old ball to finish the day with figures of 2 for 68. Javed Khan and part-timer bowler Surya Kumar Yadav, the home team skipper, got rid off Jonathan Trott and Joe Root respectively.
Khan packed off Jonathan Trott, who looked good when making 28 in 64 minutes with four fours, to break his second wicket stand with opener Joe Root, who also made 28.
The second wicket pair put on 51 runs and then England lost two more wickets -- those of Bell and Root, who was sent back by Yadav in the last over before lunch. But thereafter, England took control through Morgan and Bairstow first and then Bairstow and Patel as the track lost its liveliness of the first session and against an attack that lacked an effective spinner.
Morgan and Bairstow took the attack to the enemy camp to add 56 runs in 14 overs in the first hour after lunch. In all, the visitors added 108 runs in 27.5 overs in the period between lunch and tea to wrest the initiative. Morgan continued in the same vein before he was trapped in front by Thakur for the bowler's first wicket.
Bairstow was also dismissed before close but not before he and Patel had taken the score past the 300 mark, Javed Khan being the wicket taker. Khan, who bowled pretty short at times, finished the day with 2 for 75 while Thakur (1 for 61) and Yadav (1 for 30) were the other wicket-takers for Mumbai A.
The post-lunch progress of the visiting team's innings was in sharp contrast to the first session when they were rocked by Mumbai's second-string medium pacers. Waingankar, Javed Khan and Yadav got among the wickets on a track assisting seam bowling to leave England tottering at 64 for 4 the end of the session after the visitors opted to bat first.
Waingankar struck once each in his two spells to take the wickets of opener Nick Compton for one and Ian Bell for four while first change bowler Javed Khan dismissed Jonathan Trott for 28. To make matters worse for England, Yadav struck in the last over before lunch to dismiss Joe Root caught at short leg for 28 to leave the visiting team innings in tatters.
But, Mumbai A clearly lacked a fifth regular bowler with leg-spinner Sagar Gorivale being left out from the eleven and England eased their way out of trouble against Yadav and Shoaib Shaikh.
Mumbai A also had to use irregular bowlers Yadav and Shikhar Dhawan to pep up the over-rate. The visitors rested captain Cook, pace bowlers Steven Finn and Tim Bresnan, batsman Kevin Pietersen, wicketkeeper Matt Prior and leading spinner Graeme Swann from the team that played at the CCI.