India A v England XI, Mumbai, 2nd day October 31, 2012

Yuvraj trumps Pietersen, but Cook marches on

After Yuvraj Singh's double strike, Alastair Cook and Samit Patel forged a solid stand that ensured India A's fielders will have to endure the Mumbai heat on the final day

Two men on the way to making comebacks for their respective Test sides faced off at the Brabourne Stadium, and it was the one whose return is less certain that won the duel. Kevin Pietersen and Yuvraj Singh have history, and the England batsman was dismissed again by the left-arm spinner he once called a "pie-chucker".

Yuvraj is making a bid to break back into India's Test squad following his treatment for a germ-cell cancer, while Pietersen is being reintegrated into the England set-up after being dropped because he criticised former captain Andrew Strauss in messages sent to South Africa players during the summer. They faced each other on either side of the lunch break.

Coming in at 97 for 2, Pietersen began fluently, scoring at close to a run a ball, and it didn't take long for India A captain, Suresh Raina, to give Yuvraj the ball. His slow-bowling options were limited because of the absence of a spinner in the India A squad.

After bowling a tight spell in the first session, Yuvraj was brought back after lunch. Alastair Cook took a single off the first ball, and the next one to Pietersen was a dot. Pietersen stepped out to the third ball, mistimed a lofted straight drive, and hit the ball back to Yuvraj to be caught and bowled for 23 off 24 balls. Yuvraj dismissed Ian Bell in his next over: a classic left-arm spinner's wicket with the ball taking the edge and going to the slip fielder. He bowled 16 overs on the second day, taking 2 for 52 and pushing his claim for a spot in India's Test team.

Not everything went India A's way, though. While Yuvraj was taking those wickets, Cook was solid at his end, batting for the entire day after James Anderson trapped Vinay Kumar lbw to end India A's innings with the first ball of the morning. Cook found support in Samit Patel and the pair added an unbroken 153-run stand for the fifth wicket.

India A's fielders, all of whom are flying to various corners of the country hours after the match ends on Thursday to play Ranji Trophy matches, had to field in the blazing sun, and wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha's poor form meant they will have to endure another day in the heat.

Saha missed three opportunities to break the Cook-Patel stand. The first one came when Patel was on 29, with England XI on 182 for 4. He nicked one down the leg side off Parvinder Awana but the ball slipped out of the diving Saha's hands. In the third session, Yuvraj managed to draw Cook, on 88 with his team on 226, forward and induce an edge but Saha dropped it. And when Yuvraj drew another edge, this time Patel trying to cut on 61, Saha failed to collect yet again.

The chance of a result is now remote but the battle for the first-innings advantage is on. England are 83 runs behind with six wickets in hand.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on November 2, 2012, 6:26 GMT

    @ satish619chandar on (November 01 2012, 06:07 AM GMT) - I wouldn't go that far, although Yuvraj's haul was impressive. I just wonder if this ended up being a nice "sighter" for English batsmen? @A_Vacant_Slip on (November 01 2012, 08:55 AM GMT) - re: KP v left arm spin - the stats are pretty sugestive of some form of weakness. I think in Tests he averages half his overall ave against left arm spinners - didn't help Doherty or Beer much though! I would not say it is a "desperate" observation. There is too high of an occurance.

  • Sharon on November 1, 2012, 21:41 GMT

    @JG2704 hello again my friend. Yes of course KP very abject in UAE - like all England batting there actually an embarresment. But, hey lightning never striking and all that, eh? Looking forward to this series... test match cricket is KING!!! Enjoy!!

  • John on November 1, 2012, 17:23 GMT

    @ A_Vacant_Slip on (November 01 2012, 08:55 AM GMT) Agree re our batsmen showing some sort of intent in UAE but KP was one of the worst out there. Only Bell (as a batsman) was worse

  • Akshita on November 1, 2012, 13:09 GMT

    Hey did anyone watch the conversation between KP and Yuvi during wt20 . Yuvi had said" Kp you should play not talk in the studio . " Kp said'" Whenever I play against you I try to gift my wicket." Yuvi said " Yeah when you are playing I am confirmed a wicket . Plz come back soon " . After that Wasim and Dada pulled KP's leg reminding him he once had called yuvi a Piechucker . And what a irony that poor Kp got out to yuvraj again . But its a good thing its a warm up . When the test series starts I hope KP don"t try to go gong ho against yuvi if yuvi plays . But it's almost certain that KP wont back down ..............

  • John on November 1, 2012, 9:14 GMT

    TBH - even as an England fan. You have to laugh at Yuvraj (the man KP labelled as a pie chucker) getting him out again.

  • Sharon on November 1, 2012, 8:55 GMT

    I must say - I am amazed that KP is back playing for England!!! I really thought he was gone and I said so here on cricinfo many time. But now he is here it has to be remembered that he is contempuous of spin bowler - any spin bowler. KP will look to smash all spin bowler - he like all great batsman will look to dominate bowler. There is no "weakness" of KP V left arm spin. This is what some desperate people want to believe. Let them believe it. Truth is Pietersen is more agressive against spin - thus he is more likely to get out to it. If you don't believe that KP more agressive against spin - just ask Shane Warne (Oval 2005, Adelaide 2006), Sri Lanka in Colombo test 2011 and Harbhajan in Lords test 2011. Agression is the right way to go. KP also have more experience of India than whole of rest of England team he know how to play spin in India. The question for India is how to contain KP. If only all of England batsman could employ agression in UAE test they might have done better...

  • Mohan on November 1, 2012, 8:35 GMT

    @ satish619chandar That was an excellent reply

  • Mohan on November 1, 2012, 8:34 GMT

    @US_Indian,Hiten Sheth. What did Parthiv done when he was given 10 ODI matches against Eng. Guys Dhoni has been selected for 5 consecutive years for ICC World XI of the year in ODI since his debute in 2007, also sekected one time in Test also. So stop accusing his talent cum hard work for being in the team. Your biased comment wont make Parthiv a great wicket keeper batsman in world but performance does. So why dont u ask Parthiv to perform.

  • Sriram on November 1, 2012, 8:29 GMT

    DHONI is undisputable wkt keep coz there is no No.2 wkt keep in this country..DK, Saha, Parthiv have all done okay, though Saha showed a lot of promise both with gloves and bat in Adelaide. He deserves a few more oppurtunities before judging him at the highest level. DK has shown form wiht bat all along but not sure how far his glove work has come up. Parthiv has continue to be king of domestic. There are a few names that crop up in domestic but none has enthused the selectors. Naman has shown class in short form but Ranji should be the basis and Manvinder, the HERO of IPL 5 doesnt even have on Ranji team. Rawats, Gautams are all still novice in Ranji. So DHONIraj behind stumps will continue, not that he is bad!!

  • Mohan on November 1, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    @Hiten Sheth: Saha preferred over DK,PP because of CSK influence. I think u are too jealous about CSK. The real fact is that these players are getting selected because these 2 time IPL champions and one time CL champions is 10 times better than talking champion players in MI/DD baring Sir RJ who was sole reason for CSK not conquering IPL 5. Got it!!!

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