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January 8, 2012
ICC XI 281 and 90 for 5 lead England XI 185 for 8 dec (Cook 76) by 186 runs
With the exception of Alastair Cook, England's batsmen failed to impress on the second day against the ICC Combined XI in Dubai as the visitors stumbled during the afternoon until Andrew Strauss declared 96 behind on 185 for 8. England's pace bowlers then responded by reducing the ICC XI to 8 for 3 before they recovered to extend their lead to 186 at the close.
Having yesterday fought back from 90 for 6 to post a decent first-innings total, the ICC XI continued to provide England with tough opposition in the build-up to their Test series against Pakistan. Hamid Hassan, the Afghanistan pace bowler, took two early wickets before injuring himself with a fall over the boundary fence and during the second session England lost six further wickets. Cook was sixth out for a well-compiled 76 but no one else passed 19 and a more convincing effort will be required in the run chase.
England had started the day on 16 without loss and the opening stand moved to 44 when Andrew Strauss pulled Hassan to square leg. It didn't take long for Hassan to double his tally when Jonathan Trott glanced a catch down the leg side but Cook, in the company of Kevin Pietersen, steadied England to 98 for 2 at lunch.
However, any thoughts of a steady day of accumulation for the top order vanished after the break. Pietersen edged Boyd Rankin, the Ireland and Warwickshire paceman, to the keeper and Rankin then won the duel with his county team-mate Ian Bell. The collapse was in full swing when Eoin Morgan edged Mohammad Nabi to slip as the ICC XI gave an excellent account of themselves.
Cook, meanwhile, had remained secure and steady much as he had for most of 2011. His fifty came off 66 balls as he picked up regular boundaries and he appeared set for three figures before giving Mohammad Shahzad his fourth catch of the innings. By this time Hassan had been taken to hospital after falling over the boundary fence while trying to stop the ball and, although he was cleared of serious problems, won't take any further part in the match. George Dockrell, the Ireland left-arm spinner, replaced him for the second half of the game and will be allowed to bat and bowl.
Majid Haq, the Scotland offspinner, struck with his first ball to remove Steven Davies and Broad, after some strong hitting, became Nabi's second success of the day. Graeme Swann and James Anderson cut the deficit down to below three figures which prompted Strauss's move to end the innings shortly before tea.
England's pace bowlers were soon among the wickets for a second time. William Porterfield was caught down the leg side and Broad's impressive outing continued as he trapped Paul Stirling lbw then had Saqib Ali caught behind.
Swann provided another breakthrough when Craig Williams drove to cover but Shahzad didn't back down from the challenge and thumped his first ball from Swann straight down the ground. Shahzad continued in his attacking mindset and with the score on 71, ICC XI lost Kyle Coetzer when he dragged one onto his stumps.
Shahzad was involved in a few words with the England bowlers as he and Nabi, his Afghanistan team-mate, guided the ICC XI to the close. After the efforts of the lower order on the opening day they will still be confident of leaving the visitors with a testing target on the final day.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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