England enjoy easy pickings

Kevin Pietersen scored 110 on the opening day of England's latest tour match

Kevin Pietersen scored 110 on the opening day of England's latest tour match

First published in National Sport © by

Kevin Pietersen topped the bill, among England's wall-to-wall run-makers, with a comeback century against a modest Haryana attack at the Sardar Patel Stadium B Ground.

Pietersen (110 retired out), Alastair Cook (97), Nick Compton (74) and Ian Bell (57 not out) all passed 50 as England took advantage of favourable circumstances to rack up 408 for four on day one of their final warm-up match.

As preparation for the four-Test series to come against India, the benefit of such easy pickings was arguable. But there was no question that a confidence boost for both Pietersen and new Test opener-in-waiting Compton were especially encouraging outcomes.

After Compton and Cook had set the stage, Pietersen was increasingly dominant in only his second England innings since his well-chronicled summer of discontent and subsequent reintegration. His century from only 86 balls contained 14 fours and three sixes and should help to continue what has been a smooth return so far.

Compton's second successive half-century was equally good news after the man who always appeared in pole position to replace the retired Andrew Strauss at the top of the Test order had started with two failures.

Cook and Compton, batting together for the first time, breezed past a century opening stand well before lunch off all but one over of seam bowling, and that from Jayant Yadav rather than Test leg-spinner Amit Mishra.

Compton was assured from the outset and Cook had an air of command as he hit 20 fours in all after sitting out the tour match against Mumbai A. The latter was within one more blow of his hundred when he edged an attempted cut behind off Yadav, Sandeep Singh taking the catch from the very first delivery after replacing the injured Nitin Saini as wicketkeeper.

Compton was joined by Jonathan Trott in a partnership which took England past 200. But Mishra at last decided to bring himself on - at 211 for one after 50 overs - and it took only seven deliveries before he had Compton lbw pushing well forward to a quicker ball.

Pietersen got set either side of tea before Mishra had his second lbw success as Trott attempted to sweep, falling four runs short of making it a clean sweep of 50s for England.

Bell had endured a sticky start to the tour before an unbeaten 28 in his last innings. Here, he immediately took on Mishra, adding a six to an opening two in his first over faced at the start of another century stand.

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