PCB XI v England XI, Tour match, Dubai, 1st day January 11, 2012

Cook stars after another England batting wobble

ESPNcricinfo staff

PCB XI 23 for 0 trail England 269 for 9 dec (Cook 133, Shah 5 for 76) by 246 runs

Alastair Cook carried his form of last year into 2012 with the first century of England's UAE tour. Cook's 133 was a vital knock as five wickets for Yasir Shah restricted England on the opening day of their final warm-up match in Dubai.

Shah's legspin removed England's middle order as Ian Bell and Eoin Morgan recorded further low scores. England were reduced to 121 for 5 before Matt Prior made 46 from 57 balls. Graeme Swann's 24 also helped England to a competitive total.

But England were indebted to Cook's 36th first-class hundred. In 2011 he scored 927 Test runs at 84.27 and, after 76 in the first-innings against an ICC Combined XI, he continued in that vein, marshalling England after Mohammad Talha had reduced them to 14 for 2. Captain Andrew Strauss was caught behind for 3 before Jonathan Trott fell leg before for a third-ball duck. Ian Bell was also dismissed for a duck - part of Shah's haul of 5 for 76.

The legspin of Shah removed England's middle order. Kevin Pietersen, who took 10 balls to get off the mark, had got England moving with five fours in his 38 but he was bowled in the first over after lunch having shared a stand of 83 with Cook. Bell was then trapped leg before second ball and Shah also removed Morgan, whose 11 was his third failure of the tour after 1 and 3 against the ICC XI.

With England in trouble, Prior got a partnership going with Cook and the pair added 90. Cook, who was dropped twice in the second half of his innings, went past 50 from 92 balls while Prior was his breezy self, striking seven fours before Tahla returned to have him caught behind.

Swann, who underwent a scan on his quadriceps after the first warm-up match, played a useful part in making 24 as he and Cook put on 46. But when Swann fell caught behind off Shah, England's innings came swiftly to an end. Shah completed his five-for by having Graham Onions caught before Cook edged behind off Tahla and England declared.

There was time for eight overs of the PCB XI innings and Onions, playing the first time for England since January 2010 against South Africa, took the new ball. He conceded 13 in his three overs. Chris Tremlett, having recovered from his eye infection, sent down two overs and there was also time for a brief appearance from Swann and Monty Panesar.

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  • Martin on January 12, 2012, 21:06 GMT

    @Asghar Maqsood on (January 11 2012, 22:38 PM GMT) - quality post; like it! Although we only talk Test match here wombats have bad bad memory of 1992. Another reason why Barmy Army keeps quiet about Pakistan - we got Khaned too many times! OMG just thinking about Imran in that WC Final gives wombats collywobbles. We can still see his face as Illingworth walks away... oh dear.

  • Dummy4 on January 12, 2012, 17:49 GMT

    @jmcilhinney i think the team must have read your post.....

  • wasib on January 12, 2012, 15:32 GMT

    Surely Monty Panesar will play the first test after this performance. I think he will be a very dangerous bowler for England because he has troubled the Pakistan batsmen in the past, especially Younis Khan. Pakistan will probably have 10 right handed batsmen in the first test so his ability to spin the ball away from them will be invaluable.

  • Dummy4 on January 12, 2012, 15:25 GMT

    @yorkshirematt the sky blues are singing way to early lol back to the cricket though i dont think english fans rather the english media over hypes but thats almost with every sport in england i still waiting for the hype at wimbledon!

  • Dean on January 12, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    An encouraging day from England's point of view. Good to see Monty pick up fivefor but slightly dissapointed Swann didn't pick up more wickets on a pitch which appeared to be offering a bit for the spinners. I don't think Eng will really be looking to win this game tomorrow I think it's more important that the middle order get some time in the middle, if Morgan fails again I will be getting very concerned about him.

  • Randolph on January 12, 2012, 14:31 GMT

    Onions was terrible, went at almost double anyone else. Depth not looking so great after all.

  • Randolph on January 12, 2012, 14:26 GMT

    We all thought Gilly had ended Monty's career but somehow he is back and looking far, far more effective than Swann, not that that's difficult.

  • Robert on January 12, 2012, 14:17 GMT

    Sorry jmcilhinney my history lesson was meant for @Elliott_Tree

  • Robert on January 12, 2012, 14:11 GMT

    @jmcilhinney-FWI James Cook was born on 27 October 1728 in Marton in North Yorkshire, now part of Middlesbrough, England. He died in the Sandwich islands (now Hawaii) on 14 February 1779. Cook reached the south-eastern coast of the Australian continent on 19 April 1770, and in doing so his expedition became the first recorded Europeans to have encountered its eastern coastline.[NB 2] On 23 April he made his first recorded direct observation of indigenous Australians at Brush Island near Bawley Point, noting in his journal: "...and were so near the Shore as to distinguish several people upon the Sea beach they appear'd to be of a very dark or black Colour but whether this was the real colour of their skins or the C[l]othes they might have on I know not."[18] On 29 April Cook and crew made their first landfall on the mainland of the continent at a place now known as the Kurnell Peninsula, which he named Botany Bay after the unique specimens retrieved by the botanists Joseph Banks

  • Robert on January 12, 2012, 13:49 GMT

    It's a bit worrying that once again we haven't been bale to finish off a side - 118 for 8 to 200 for 9 is not good and happens too often for my liking. Hopefully it is not an attitude issue.

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