Rain plays spoilsport on the first day of Oval Test

Persistent rains meant only 26 overs could be bowled on the opening day Getty Images

By Asish Shukla

London: Aug 18, 2011

An insipid Indian bowling lineup had yet another torrid day as England reached 75 for no loss on the opening day of the fourth and final Test before persistent rain brought a premature end to the proceedings.

Only 26 overs could be bowled on the opening day before heavens opened up at the Oval during the lunch break and after an inspection at 4.38pm (local time), the umpires decided to call off the day’s play.

Earlier, opting to bat, openers Alastair Cook (34) and Andrew Strauss (38) batted comfortably and had no problems in dealing with the Indian pace trio — which included Rudra Pratap Singh brought in place of injured Praveen Kumar — as England reached 75 for no loss at lunch.

From the moment RP Singh sent a wide delivery down the leg stump which almost bounced twice, Indians never backed themselves to do any worthwhile damage to the hosts’ formidable batting.

Both Cook and Strauss began with boundaries down to the third man region and generally played without any alarm till the second hour when a sharp Ishant Sharma bouncer nearly took England skipper’s head off.

Strauss was on 24, England 48 for no loss, when Sharma dug one in which got Strauss in a tangle and hit him smack on the peak of his helmet, taking a piece off it. An inch below and Strauss could have ended up with a serious blow on his face.

London, Aug 18 (PTI) Indian bowling lacked teeth as openers Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss batted comfortably to take England to 75 for no loss at lunch on the opening day of the fourth and final cricket Test here today.

Skipper Strauss was batting on 38 while last match’s double centurion Cook is giving him company on 34 after England opted to bat at the Oval.

From the moment recalled medium-pacer Rudra Pratap Singh sent a wide delivery down the leg stump which almost bounced twice, Indians never backed themselves to do any worthwhile damage to the hosts’ formidable batting.

Both Cook and Strauss began with boundaries down to the third man region and generally played without any alarm till the second hour when a sharp Ishant Sharma bouncer nearly took England skipper’s head off.

Strauss was on 24, England 48 for no loss, when Sharma dug one in which got Strauss in a tangle and hit him smack on the peak of his helmet, taking a piece off it. An inch below and Strauss could have ended up with a serious blow on his face.

But for this solitary moment of superiority, there wasn’t any genuine moment of shout emerging from the Indians. England openers, for most part of the session, accumulated their runs in ones and twos and only nine fours were hit in the first session.

Strauss hit Sreesanth for two delightful boundaries, putting a straight delivery past the square-leg fence and then getting his stride forward to stroke one back past the bowler.

Brief Scores: England 75 for no loss (Andrew Strauss 38*, Alastair Cook 34*) vs India.

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