New Delhi: India A provided some cheer amidst disappointing show by the senior team as they comprehensively beat England by 53 runs under the Duckworth/Lewis method in the first warm-up match, being held at the Palam Airforce Ground here on Sunday.
Riding on Murali Vijay's 76, India A posted a competitive 224 for four in 39 overs - which meant the target was revised to 229 under D/L method - and then skittled the visitors out for 175 in the 36th over. The match was reduced to a 39-overs-a-side contest due to bad light.
It was a collective effort by the India A team bowlers with comeback man S Sreesanth bowling an impressive first spell in which he removed the dangerous Kevin Pietersen (19) with a short delivery. With a shorter run-up, Sreesanth worked up lively pace and dug one short when he saw Pietersen trying to give him the charge only to lob it to the mid-on fielder. The celebrations though, after getting KP out, was muted by his standards. The figures of 7-1-16-1 was not bad at all.
England XI could only manage 175 before being bowled out with three overs to spare, while chasing a revised target of 229 in 39 overs.
Lanky Ishwar Pandey trapped one-down Samit Patel leg before. Offie Jalaj Saxena then picked up stand-in captain Eoin Morgan and Jos Butler in quick succession. With the English batsmen looking uncomfortable against the spinners, they were soon reduced to 72 for 6, virtually ending any chance of a comeback.
Although Ian Bell (91) took the attack to the opposition during his 89-ball knock that contained eight fours and two sixes, he didn't get much support from the other end as Ashok Menaria picked up three wickets. Talented Jammu and Kashmir allrounder Parveez Rasool, making his A team debut, then effected the run-out of James Tredwell.
Earlier Vijay smashed a fine 76 as his century-plus opening stand with statemate Abhinav Mukund helped the hosts reach a fighting total. Sent into bat, the Tamil Nadu duo added 118 runs for the opening stand with skipper Mukund hitting 57. After the duo, it was Maharashtra's No. 3 Kedar Jadhav who chipped in with an useful 52 off 50 balls.
Morgan was leading the side after skipper Alastair Cook, who was down with cold, decided to go back to the hotel due to extremely chilly conditions.
While the players went back to the dressing room after five overs were sent down, the break was a welcome one for India A openers. While Mukund dropped anchor at one end during his 81-ball knock in which he hit five boundaries, Vijay was the aggressive of the two with his 76 coming off only 75 balls. Vijay's innings contained eight fours and two sixes.
He hit some crisp drives off Tim Bresnan's bowling but a flat batted six off Chris Woakes stood out. It was a kind of tennis shot that fell in front of the sightscreen. The second six came about when he came down the track and lofted offie James Tredwell to the adjacent practice nets.
Mukund tried to give similar charge to Tredwell but was beaten by the flight and was stumped. Vijay was bowled by Samit Patel when he tried to hoick the left-arm spinner, but Jadhav batted with a lot of gumption. Along with Ashok Menaria (17, 2x6), he added 44 runs.
Initially, he was finding it difficult to get the ball through the gaps. He even lost his bat once when Steven Finn dug one short, forcing the Maharashtra lad to be taken aback by the pace. But to his credit, he hung on there and hit a few boundaries to complete his 50 in the penultimate over. Jade Dernbach was the most successful bowler for England with figures of two for 23 in seven overs.