Alastair Cook scored a fluent century © Getty Images
Alastair Cook scored a century in the first tour match © Getty Images (File photo)

Basseterre: An unbeaten knock of 20 from batsman Akeem Saunders thwarted England’s efforts to force an outright victory against St. Kitts Invitational XI as their two-day match ended in a draw at Warner Park. Saunders, a middle order batsman, hit four fours in a defiant innings on Tuesday that repelled England’s push for victory with the homeside losing second innings wickets quickly after the visitors had piled up 379 for six declared, reports CMC.

Leon Clarke contributed 17 and Jacques Taylor was not out on 13, the only other batsmen to get into double-figures for St. Kitts. England fell narrowly short of securing a win, needing just three more wickets when the players shook hands on a draw.

Captain Alastair Cook hit a century — his first ton for England in 18 months — after resuming from his overnight score of 95. Cook scored 11 fours and a six before retiring out. Half-centuries from Ian Bell and Joe Root allowed England to declare and pushing for victory as the hosts, who managed 59 in their first innings, slipped to 24 for six inside 18 overs.

Taylor, Elvin Berridge, Steve Liburd and Clark each picked up a wicket for the local side. For England, James Tredwell claimed 3-25 while Liam Plunkett and Mark Wood, who were drafted in to bowl in the second innings, took a wicket each. England will now prepare themselves for another two-day game, starting on Wednesday, against the same opposition.