Somerset v Indians, Taunton, 1st day

Somerset cash in after Strauss finds form

The Report by Andrew McGlashan at Taunton

July 15, 2011

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Somerset 329 for 2 (Suppiah 145*, Compton 88, Strauss 78) v Indians
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Arul Suppiah cuts during his century against India, Somerset v Indians, Taunton, 1st day, July 15, 2011
Arul Suppiah cracked an unbeaten 145 on the first day of India's tour match against Somerset © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Nick Compton | Andrew Strauss | Arul Suppiah
Series/Tournaments: India tour of England
Teams: England | India | Somerset

Andrew Strauss warmed up for next week's first Test by taking the early honours at the start of the head-to-head with Zaheer Khan on his guest appearance for Somerset, and Arul Suppiah hit an unbeaten 145 as the Indians were made to toil at Taunton. Strauss and Suppiah added 101 for the first wicket before Suppiah and Nick Compton put on 223 between two stoppages for rain to take the home side to an imposing 329 for 2.

Strauss struck 11 boundaries in bringing up his half-century from a sprightly 63 balls. All his shots were in good working order as he drove, pulled, and glanced his way into form ahead of Lord's next week. He did have a couple of close shaves: firstly on 20 when Zaheer had a big lbw shout turned down by Graham Lloyd, and then on 64 when Wriddhiman Saha, the reserve wicketkeeper playing in place of the rested MS Dhoni, dropped an edge off Amit Mishra. However, the keeper took the next chance when an edge bobbled off the pad and looped in the air as Strauss departed for 78. In the context of the runs that followed, he missed out.

The loan deal for Strauss had provoked debate, both about the whether the structure of domestic cricket does all it can to help the England team, and also what Somerset gained from the move. Despite coming off a four-day Championship match, the county fielded several first-team regulars, including England Lions captain James Hildreth, and somebody missed out to let Strauss play. However, he received a warm ovation as he left the field following his innings and, wearing his Somerset kit, appeared to have been adopted at least for the day.

"He looked very good, he was moving his feet very well and striking the ball out of the middle," Suppiah said of Strauss. "It's just a shame he got out, he probably could have got a hundred but he played really well. He looks hungry for runs, left the ball well and played straight which is the main thing for an opener."

The battle with Zaheer was a gentle precursor of what will follow in the Tests as the bowler eased himself back into action after a lengthy lay-off following the IPL. The initial overs of Zaheer's first spell were friendly, but he started to generate a touch more pace and find some swing later in an eight-over burst.

Zaheer is the only one in this Indians' attack certain to play at Lord's next week with Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar rested following their workload in the Caribbean. It meant a chance for Sreesanth and Munaf Patel to stake a claim for the third seamer's slot, although neither made a compelling case. The attack actually looked toothless - Suresh Raina's late wicket of Compton came when the batsman reverse-swept to short third man - but India will back themselves to lift for the major challenge.

Sreesanth was tight to begin with but Strauss started to take to him with three boundaries in an over as he moved to his half-century. Patel, meanwhile, was steady but didn't provide much threat. Mishra began with three no-balls in his first three overs and Strauss picked off the legspinner with ease, pulling him over midwicket and driving through the off side, before the bowler struck back.

While Strauss's runs will be welcome, he'll know that they don't guarantee a successful start to the Tests. Ahead of the Sri Lanka series he scored two hundreds - one of them against the visitors at Uxbridge - but then struggled to convert that when the internationals began, and ended with 27 runs from four innings.

With the focus understandably on Strauss, Suppiah was a quiet partner in every sense at the other end. He didn't register a boundary until the start of the second hour when he played a lovely straight drive, but a sign of the gentle nature of the surface was that he, too, didn't have many alarms.

Rain brought a lengthy stoppage shortly after lunch but when the skies cleared, Suppiah and Compton made positive progress as the Indians found wickets elusive. Suppiah became increasingly positive on either side of his half-century, but the Indians missed a chance to break the partnership when Compton, on 24, was dropped at square by Sachin Tendulkar, when he pulled Sreesanth.

Compton cashed in on his chance with a series of well-timed boundaries, one of which was a stand-and-deliver cover drive off Zaheer, who was the pick of a disappointing seam attack, as he reached a half century from 74 deliveries. Mishra was taken at more than four-an-over and also dropped a tough caught-and-bowled chance off Suppiah, who was on 71. Mishra was forced to leave the field mid-over for treatment on his finger but was said to be fine. The 17 overs shared by the part-time spinners, Raina and Yuvraj Singh, cost 110 runs including 18 off one Yuvraj over.

The resumption after tea was delayed by further rain, but the final hour was possible which gave Suppiah the chance to register his sixth first-class hundred from 179 balls, and he is closing in on a new career-best. It's been a good time for Suppiah: he registered world record Twenty20 figures of 6 for 5 in a Friends Life t20 game against Glamorgan last week. And it won't have done him any harm to score runs in front of the England captain.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by 5wombats on (July 16, 2011, 19:18 GMT)

india 138/8..... oh! this is too beautiful! I can't wait to read the excuses...!

Posted by demon_bowler on (July 16, 2011, 17:30 GMT)

Oh dear. Losing both openers inside 11 overs to the ageing Kolpak star Charl Willoughby -- it's not looking good is it?

Posted by   on (July 16, 2011, 17:30 GMT)

Urmm.... Is this still the A Team you guys said went to the WI? Or isthis the real deal Indian team now?

Posted by Phillisco on (July 16, 2011, 17:27 GMT)

I dont get why everyone is obsessed with "my team is better than yours". These are two of the best sides in test cricket about to play in testing conditions where we will most likely get results (barring rain). Surely we should be talking about how good a battle it is going to be, not whinging about who is ranked where and who beat who in the past. Whoever plays better will win and will deserve it.

Posted by World-Champs-TEAM-INDIA on (July 16, 2011, 16:57 GMT)

Totally agree with Ankit Gupta

Posted by Wacco on (July 16, 2011, 16:52 GMT)

sorry Indian folks ...pathetic India will lose 3-0. No mercy. Without Sehwag, India doesn't have the X-factor.

Posted by demon_bowler on (July 16, 2011, 16:20 GMT)

So, India managed to take three (3) wickets in 96 overs against a county side resting some of its best players. Having just one warm-up game before a major test series is supreme arrogance, and I hope it comes back to haunt India. (England have also been guilty of this in the past, and paid the price.)

Posted by   on (July 16, 2011, 16:12 GMT)

Does India have the bowling to take 20 wickets? Batting is not an issue, Bowling and Fielding is. I would like India to Zaheer, Ishant and Sreesanth as pace bowlers and Amit Mishra as the Spinner and leave Harbjhan Singh Out. English still have problem playing a Leg Spinner. England has not a produced a Leg Spinner in decades. They had difficulty against Shane and against Mushtaq Ahmed and Abdul Qadir. England Cricketers are not well versed in handling a Leg Spinner.

Posted by JustIPL on (July 16, 2011, 16:06 GMT)

@spiritwithin, However, strauss was not very successful against the lankans but cook very much compensated for thim. Pakistan never hires foreign coaches as we take responsibility of our teams and not look for scapegoats.Let's see what India does with the services of veterans.

Posted by mazola on (July 16, 2011, 15:45 GMT)

can plz any1 tell me that can i watch live somerset vs indian on net plz.. tell i want 2 see dis match live on internet........

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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