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.