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January 6, 2013
India A 224 for 4 (Vijay 76, Mukund 57, Dernbach 2-23) beat England XI 175 (Bell 91, Menaria 3-43, J Saxena 2-13) by 53 runs (D/L method)
Ashley Giles' first game in charge of England's ODI side ended in a convincing defeat against India A in Delhi in the first of two warm-up matches ahead of the one-day series.
Giles named Ian Bell, with whom he has had a close association at Warwickshire, to open the England innings with Alastair Cook standing down from the opening match with a heavy cold. The opportunity to open the innings introduced what could be perceived as a straight shoot-out for the role with Kevin Pietersen.
Bell responded with 91 from 89 balls to strengthen the possibility that he will be Cook's opening partner in the first ODI in Nagpur on Friday, with Pietersen batting at No. 3 in the absence of Jonathan Trott. Hgave chances on 21 and 35 and had they been taken England's plight would have been considerably worse.
Bell's response was designed to hearten England's new one-day coach during an otherwise dismal batting display on a cold, foggy day in which England collapsed to 72 for 6 in search of a target of 229 in 39 overs and eventually lost by 53 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method.
In a match reduced to 39 overs because of bad light, England were up against it from the moment that the Tamil Nadu opening pair, Abhinav Mukund and M Vijay assembled a century opening stand.
Mukund, known to England after playing for India in their Test defeats at Lord's and Trent Bridge in 2011, famously once put on 462 with Vijay for Tamil Nadu in a Ranji Trophy match, only two runs away from the world record, but on this occasion 118 in 24 overs was enough to deflate England.
James Tredwell, who can anticipate a leading role in the five-match ODI series in the absence of his fellow offspinner, Graeme Swann, then had Mukund stumped for 57. Samit Patel bowled Vijay for 76 from 75 balls but an unbeaten half-century from Maharashtra's Kedar Jadhav, maintained the impetus.
England's prize scalp of Pietersen fell to Sreesanth, who was making a much-publicised reappearance after two toe operations which threatened to end his career and which confined him to a wheelchair for several months.
As Bell battled on, England then lost five wickets in nine overs. Jalaj Saxena's offbreaks soon accounted for Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler and Buttler's Somerset team-mate, Craig Kieswetter, found no immediate release from a shaky year in an England shirt when he fell for a fifth-ball duck, medium-pacer Mohit Sharma having him caught at the wicket.
Kieswetter's ODI place is assured in the absence of his fellow wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow for personal reasons, but if England become fearful about the reliability of their batting order, Buttler could face competition for the final batting place from Joe Root.
England switch from the Model Sports Complex to the Feroz Shah Kotla to face Delhi in the second warm-up game on Tuesday.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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