Mumbai: Oct 30, 2012
Comeback man Yuvraj Singh notched up an impressive half-century after opener Abhinav Mukund played an attacking knock of 73 as India 'A' reached 224 for six at tea on day one of their three-day match against the touring England side.
Yuvraj struck seven sweetly timed fours and four well-hit sixes, two each off left-arm spinner Samit Patel and Graeme Swann, in his 80-ball 59. He fell pray to off-spinner Swann, who deceived the southpaw in flight and was stumped by wicket-keeper Matt Prior.
India 'A' added 111 runs in the second session after witnessing an unconvincing start at the Brabourne Stadium.
The home team, who had lost Mukund, Murali Vijay (7) and Ajinkya Rahane (4) in their first session total of 113, surrendered the wickets of skipper Suresh Raina (20), Yuvraj and Wridhiman Saha (20) after lunch.
Yuvraj, eager to bag the number 6 slot in the Test line-up for the upcoming four-Test series against the visitors ahead of Raina, impressed the selectors present with his shot selection before his impetuosity cost him his wicket when he tried to clout Swann, who bowled beautifully, for a second six in the same over.
Unbeaten on 27 at lunch, Yuvraj, after being dropped first ball at square leg, showed good touch when he cover-drove Tim Bresnan for a four in the second over after the break.
But both he and Raina, who had replaced Mukund after lunch, were kept on a tight leash by Swann.
And when Patel was brought on at the other end, the home side captain was eager to punish him like Yuvraj had done earlier, but departed by giving a bat-pad catch to short-leg fielder Ian Bell after being lured out of the crease by the left-arm spinner.
Yuvraj continued to feast on Patel, who had dropped him first ball, with a flick at square leg off Bresnan who he had struck for two fours and a six in the first session.
The Punjab batsman lofted the bowler straight for his second six and then hit Swann for the first of his two sixes to bring up his individual 50 in 74 balls.
The Indian batsman stepped out to cart Swann over mid wicket but the clever off spinner invited Yuvraj with another ball held a little back. The batsman, in his eagerness, tried to hit over mid-wicket again, but missed the connection after having stepped out and was stumped by Prior.
Saha was trapped leg before by Anderson when he offered no shot to a ball that nipped back and struck his pads.
At 190 for six, it looked bad for India 'A' before Tiwary, who batted well against the spinners, and Pathan prevented any further wicket before the interval.
In the morning session, Mukund, who had a streaky start to his innings before settling down to hit some pleasing shots, struck 16 fours in only 83 balls before Swann dismissed him off what proved to be the last ball before the lunch break.
Swann, after luring him in front, pushed the batsman back and induced him to flick which was well caught by short leg fielder Bell to end the blossoming partnership between Mukund and Yuvraj that realised a quick 56 in 58 balls for the third wicket.
The left-handed opener played a few streaky shots, including a boundary through the slip cordon off the first ball of the match from James Anderson, before growing in confidence, once the wicket eased out a bit, to play more authentic-looking shots.
Pacer Steven Finn, who bowled only four overs in the first sesion, is reportedly having a problem in his right thigh and didn't bowl at all in the second session. (PTI)
Brief Score: India A 224 for 6 in 57 overs (Abhinav Mukund 73, Yuvraj Singh 59; Graeme Swann 2 for 57) vs England.
(With inputs from PTI)