Fri, Mar 10, 2006 - Page 24 News List

England reaches 163-4 as drizzle halts play in India

AP , MOHALI, INDIA

Kevin Pietersen scored an aggressive half-century to help England recover from Indian pace bowler Irfan Pathan's early strike in the second cricket Test match yesterday.

Pietersen's 64 and his run-a-ball stand of 81 for the third wicket with Ian Bell (38) took England to 163 for four on the rain-hit opening day that saw two-and-a-half hours of play being lost to drizzle and poor visibility.

Pace bowler Pathan (2-54) struck twice -- dismissing openers Andrew Strauss (18) and Alastair Cook (17) -- and England was tottering at 36 for two when Bell and Pietersen repaired some damage before leg-spinner Anil Kumble (1-29) got into the wicket-snaring act by snaring Bell.

Batting first after skipper Andrew Flintoff won the toss, England was rattled by left-arm pacer Pathan inducing an edge off Strauss into the gloves of diving wicketkeeper Mahendra Dhoni and then trapped first Test's centurion Cook LBW in successive overs.

Strauss struck one boundary in his 46-minute stay, while Cook's knock contained two hits to the fence in 55 minutes.

Bell was clean bowled by a sharp tweaker from Kumble that dislodged the off-stump. His hour-and-a-half hour knock featured six boundaries off 68 balls. The dismissal helped Kumble move closer to the 500-wicket mark, Bell's departure boosting his tally to 497.

Morning showers had delayed the start by 45 minutes and the afternoon session was interrupted by persistent drizzle and an overcast sky that led to the bad light condition, forcing players to return to the pavilion.

Pietersen showed his intent by cutting rookie legspinner Piyush Chawla to the third-man fence and then clouting the next delivery for a six-over midwicket.

At stumps, Paul Collingwood was batting on 19 and Flintoff was on four.

New Zealand showed the effects of an enforced diet of limited-overs cricket as it made 275 yesterday behind a Scott Styris century on the first day of the first Test against the West Indies.

The West Indies were 51 for three in reply at stumps, losing two wickets to Styris' gentle medium pace in the second-to-last over of the day at Eden Park.

New Zealand's last 22 matches have been one-dayers and its batsmen, apart from Styris, who batted three hours and 12 minutes for an unbeaten 103, struggled to shrug off one-day habits as they were sent in after the West Indies won the toss.

At the height of its innings in the second session, New Zealand added 146 runs for the loss of three wickets from 27 overs, moving from that tenuous 70 for four to 216 for seven.

Upul Tharanga struck his maiden Test century yesterday as Sri Lanka recovered from an early stutter to take command on the second day of the second Test match against Bangladesh.

Tharanga hit an unbeaten 160 to power Sri Lanka to 302 for eight at stumps along with tailender Lasith Malinga on 12.

The left-hand opener, playing only his third Test, smashed 19 boundaries and two sixes in the 297-ball knock in 429 minutes.

He shared a vital 124-run fifth wicket stand with captain Mahela Jayawardene, who was dismissed on 49 by Mohammad Ashraful just before tea.

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