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Kevin Pietersen returns to England team against India A

One of the boys: KP mucks in as 'team player' on England return

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UPDATED:

23:43 GMT, 30 October 2012

If Kevin Pietersen was told to keep his head down as he reintegrates himself into international cricket, then he played the role to perfection in his first game for England since all hell broke loose in the summer.

When Pietersen walked out with his team-mates on Tuesday at Mumbai’s picturesque Brabourne Stadium, it was the first time in 85 days he had worn the colours of his adopted country. There may have been times when he wondered whether this day would arrive at all.

Such has been his dominance of cricket’s agenda during his period of exile that his unmitigated failure to grab the headlines here almost counted as a story in itself.

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Comeback: Kevin Pietersen (right) returned for England in Mumbai on Tuesday

Comeback: Kevin Pietersen (right) returned for England in Mumbai on Tuesday

Comeback: Kevin Pietersen (right) returned for England in Mumbai on Tuesday
SCORECARD

Click here for the full scorecard from Mumbai

Pietersen held a simple catch in the gully as England’s bowlers began brightly against India A, and later — as the batsmen fought back — bowled a single over of off-spin, which cost seven and merely paved the way for Jimmy Anderson to take the second new ball. This felt symbolic. Pietersen was here to help.

In between, he chatted amicably during a drinks break with Ian Bell and Graeme Swann, and generally went about his business as if the BlackBerry texts furore had never happened — mucking in, geeing up and throwing himself around like the new boy.

That is precisely how England, with their emphasis on team unity, hope it remains.

All smiles: Pietersen looked to be enjoying his return to the side

All smiles: Pietersen looked to be enjoying his return to the side

All smiles: Pietersen looked to be enjoying his return to the side

The balance, though, will inevitably be a delicate one. In an interview with this month’s Cricketer magazine, Anderson joked about ‘there being two cliques in the England dressing room: one with 10 in, the other with one’.

And although team director Andy Flower insisted on Monday that he did not regard this tour as Pietersen’s last chance as an England player, there is little doubt he will be watched closely in the weeks ahead.

For now, the players are determined to pull together. ‘It’s pretty much business as usual,’ said Tim Bresnan, who claimed three wickets as India A closed the first day of their three-day match on 369 for nine.

‘He’s the same old Kev, with the energy in the field that he showed all day. He’s just Kev. It’s been good.

It's good to be back: Pietersen should get a chance to bat on Wednesday

It's good to be back: Pietersen should get a chance to bat on Wednesday

It's good to be back: Pietersen should get a chance to bat on Wednesday

It's good to be back: Pietersen should get a chance to bat on Wednesday

‘I don’t suppose you’d be able to see from the outside looking in that it’s anything other than normal. But I’m pretty sure most of the lads in the dressing room were expecting it to be like that.

‘Everyone in the know has sat down and spoken about it, but for the rest of the boys it’s nothing different from having any player come back into the squad who’s been missing for a while.’

It was a brave attempt by Bresnan to put an ordinary gloss on an extraordinary situation, and England will expect to field questions about the KP situation until they fly home for Christmas.

But on Tuesday, Pietersen looked just like one of the boys as England tried to limit India’s Test hopefuls to a manageable total on the kind of slow track that will keep Alastair Cook’s seamers honest in the weeks ahead.

Good morning: Bresnan starred for England with a wicket and a run out

Good morning: Bresnan starred for England with a wicket and a run out

Good morning: Bresnan starred for England with a wicket and a run out

They were not helped by the early loss of Steven Finn to a thigh niggle, but Bresnan ran out opener Murali Vijay off his own bowling, then had Ajinkya Rahane caught by Pietersen in the gully off one that bounced more than the batsman expected.

Bresnan ought to have had Yuvraj Singh — making his own way back into international cricket after fighting off a rare form of cancer — caught first ball, but Samit Patel missed a low chance at square leg.

Yuvraj proceeded to play with the freedom that could earn him India’s No 6 spot in next month’s first Test at Ahmedabad before he was stumped for 59 off the persevering Swann. And it was left to Manoj Tiwary to continue India A’s fightback with a classy 93 that ended when a Bresnan yorker sent his off stump flying.

Concern: Finn pulled up with a thigh injury

Concern: Finn pulled up with a thigh injury

Tiwary later admitted he draws inspiration from watching YouTube videos, with special mention for British 400metres runner Derek Redmond’s efforts at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, when he hobbled round the track with a torn hamstring.

On this evidence, Tiwary could push Yuvraj for the last spot in India’s top six. England will hope he does not spend next year watching re-runs of Test hundreds at their expense.

VIDEO: Cook says the team are putting the Pietersen controversy behind them…

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Steven Finn injures thigh as Kevin Pietersen returns for England

Finn hobbles off on first morning of India tour as KP returns to England side

By
Sportsmail Reporter

PUBLISHED:

06:42 GMT, 30 October 2012

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UPDATED:

10:02 GMT, 30 October 2012

Steven Finn gave England significant cause for concern as he limped out of the attack with a thigh injury on an awkward first day of their India tour.

Finn, a key component in England's likely Test line-up here, will play no further part on Tuesday and is expected to have a scan to try to identify the source of discomfort in his right leg.

The 6ft 7in seamer aborted the second over of his second spell and had to be replaced by medium-pacer Jonathan Trott.

Comeback: Kevin Pietersen (right) returned for England in Mumbai on Tuesday

Comeback: Kevin Pietersen (right) returned for England in Mumbai on Tuesday

Comeback: Kevin Pietersen (right) returned for England in Mumbai on Tuesday

Alastair Cook's initial experience on his first tour as permanent Test captain was therefore a vexing one as Abhinav Mukund (73) and Yuvraj Singh (59) helped India A to a teatime 224 for six in this three-day match at the Brabourne Stadium.

Mukund was the dominant, but far from always convincing, force throughout the morning session – making 41 of the first 50 runs and numbering 12 fours in his 57-ball half-century after the hosts won the toss.

The majority of his early boundaries came off the edge, but the left-handed opener grew in confidence as England's troubles gathered.

Concern: Finn pulled up with a thigh injury

Concern: Finn pulled up with a thigh injury

Tim Bresnan had a hand in the first two wickets.

First, replacing Finn after his three overs with the new ball, the Yorkshireman was alert, agile and accurate enough – with an under-armed direct-hit – to run out Murali Vijay after Mukund called his partner through for a sharp single dropped into the leg-side.

Bresnan stuck to his task on a pitch of decent pace as James Anderson took a breather and then Finn went off, and was repaid when he found alarming extra bounce from barely short of a length to have Ajinkya Rahane edging a simple catch off the shoulder of the bat to gully.

Good morning: Bresnan starred for England with a wicket and a run out

Good morning: Bresnan starred for England with a wicket and a run out

Good morning: Bresnan starred for England with a wicket and a run out

Kevin Pietersen, back in an England team for the first time since his summer of discontent and subsequent 'reintegration', did the necessary with a simple catch.

It took another seven minutes, however, for Rahane's dismissal to be confirmed as the umpires – in accordance with new International Cricket Council protocol – ordered what proved to be a laborious check to rule out a no-ball.

All smiles: Pietersen looked to be enjoying his return to the side

All smiles: Pietersen looked to be enjoying his return to the side

All smiles: Pietersen looked to be enjoying his return to the side

Once under way again, Bresnan would have had two wickets in two balls had Samit Patel managed to hold on to a sharp, low catch at midwicket.

Instead, Yuvraj escaped the indignity of a golden duck as he continues his comeback following his recovery from lung cancer – and he went on to punish Patel with two fours and a six over long-on when the all-rounder came on for his first over of left-arm spin.

Star performer: Mukund hit 73 opening the innings for India A

Star performer: Mukund hit 73 opening the innings for India A

On the stroke of lunch, England at last had something to smile about when Mukund fell to a smart catch at short-leg by Ian Bell off Graeme Swann to end a near run-a-ball stand of 56.

Yuvraj stayed on the attack, milking the spinners in particular as he hit seven fours in his 50 and brought up the milestone with his third six – straight off Swann.

By then, captain Suresh Raina was gone to another Bell catch at short-leg – this time off Patel – and then Yuvraj was stumped off Swann as he went in search of a fifth maximum.

Anderson returned to deceive Wriddiman Saha with reverse-swing, playing no shot to go lbw, but the hosts were still comfortably past 200 by tea.

Steven Finn injures thigh on first morning of India tour

England hit by injury concern on first morning of India tour as Finn hobbles off

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UPDATED:

07:36 GMT, 30 October 2012

Concern: Finn hobbled off

Concern: Finn hobbled off

Steven Finn gave England significant cause for concern as he limped out of the attack with a thigh injury on an awkward first morning of their India tour.

Finn, a key component in England's likely Test attack, will play no further part on Tuesday and is expected to have a scan to try to identify the source of discomfort in his right leg.

The 6ft 7in seamer aborted the second over of his second spell and had to be replaced by medium-pacer Jonathan Trott.

Alastair Cook's initial experience on his first tour as permanent Test captain was therefore a vexing one as Abhinav Mukund (73) took India A to a lunchtime 113 for three in this three-day match at the Brabourne Stadium.

Mukund was the dominant, but far from always convincing, force – making 41 of the first 50 runs and numbering 12 fours in his 57-ball half-century after the hosts won the toss.

The majority of his early boundaries came off the edge, but the left-handed opener grew in confidence as England's troubles gathered.
Tim Bresnan had a hand in the first two wickets.

First, replacing Finn after his three overs with the new ball, the Yorkshireman was alert, agile and accurate enough – with an under-armed direct-hit – to run out Murali Vijay after Mukund called his partner through for a sharp single dropped into the leg-side.

Impressive: Bresnan started brightly on Tuesday morning

Impressive: Bresnan started brightly on Tuesday morning

Bresnan stuck to his task as James Anderson took a breather and then Finn went off, and was repaid when he found alarming extra bounce from barely short of a length to have Ajinkya Rahane edging a simple catch off the shoulder of the bat to gully.

Kevin Pietersen, back in an England team for the first time since his summer of discontent and subsequent 'reintegration', did the necessary with a simple catch.

It took another seven minutes, however, for Rahane's dismissal to be confirmed as the umpires – in accordance with new International Cricket Council protocol – ordered what proved to be a laborious check to rule out a no-ball.

Catch of the day: Pietersen (right) was back in the England side

Catch of the day: Pietersen (right) was back in the England side

Once under way again at last, Bresnan would have had two wickets in two balls had Samit Patel managed to hold on to a sharp, low catch at midwicket.

Instead, Yuvraj Singh escaped the indignity of a golden duck as he continues his comeback following his recovery from lung cancer – and went on to punish Patel with two fours and a six over long-on when the all-rounder came on for his first over of left-arm spin.

But on the stroke of lunch, England at last had something to smile about when Mukund fell to a smart catch at short-leg by Ian Bell off Graeme Swann to end a near run-a-ball stand of 56.

England and West Indies bowlers won the day: Nasser Hussain

I'm bowled over by the game’s top thinkers

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UPDATED:

21:52 GMT, 27 May 2012

Everybody turned up on Sunday expecting England to bat all day and pile up 500, maybe even 600, on what is still the flattest of Trent Bridge pitches in perfect conditions.

Well, it didn't turn out that way. Neither side batted particularly badly but 14 wickets fell on the third day because of excellent, disciplined bowling by both England and West Indies and the thinking of two captains who really earned their corn.

This was a case of England batsmen being outthought and effectively bored out at times by West Indies as there was still precious little sideways movement before Andrew Strauss then posted sweepers to help keep control even when England were attacking so effectively with the new ball last night. I was very impressed by West Indies in the field.

Fiery: Kemar Roach bowled well for the tourists

Fiery: Kemar Roach bowled well for the tourists

They had a difficult day on Saturday but came back strongly when they could have wilted yesterday morning when faced with Strauss unbeaten on a hundred overnight and Kevin Pietersen in full flow.

Kemar Roach was fiery after his no-ball problems, Ravi Rampaul was a very good foil to him and Darren Sammy executed his plans perfectly, including frustrating Strauss into nicking a wide one.

Then when West Indies batted again after tea Jimmy Anderson was phenomenal with the new ball while Stuart Broad showed what an incredibly good thinker on the game he is.

Three and easy: Tim Bresnan took a flurry of late wickets for England

Three and easy: Tim Bresnan took a flurry of late wickets for England

England have thought long and hard about how to dismiss Shiv Chanderpaul but no seamer had managed to do it in this series before Sunday when Broad and Strauss came up with a plan.

They must have sensed that Chanderpaul had decided to go for his shots and Broad had a long discussion with his captain before posting a leg gully and two other fielders on the leg side.

The world's No 1 ranked batsman must have thought that the ball was going to be full and straight, as opposed to Anderson's plan of attacking him outside off stump, but Broad double-bluffed him and sent down a bouncer.

Ball beats bat: Matt Prior's middle stump flies out of the ground

Ball beats bat: Matt Prior's middle stump flies out of the ground

Chanderpaul was never totally in control of the resulting pull and hit it straight down Jonathan Trott's throat at long leg before Broad followed that up with a series of full balls to Marlon Samuels that, with his lack of footwork, he could easily have nicked. Clever bowling from a man with a fantastic cricket brain.

Tough day at the office: England's Jonny Bairstow struggled to deal with Kemar Roach's short pitch bowling

Tough day at the office: England's Jonny Bairstow struggled to deal with Kemar Roach's short pitch bowling

He and Anderson were brilliant with the new ball, but the man who made the difference was Tim Bresnan. The way he reversed the old ball at pace was magnificent – that extra zip off the pitch makes him a real addition to the side.

One of the day's talking points was the problems Jonny Bairstow had in coping with Roach but it is far too early to say that this lad definitely has a weakness against short pitched bowling.

After Lord's we were saying how organised Bairstow was but there were those yesterday at Trent Bridge almost writing him off, especially as Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel are on their way later this summer with South Africa.

The truth is somewhere in between. He will have to do some work with Graham Gooch because, after Sunday, every bowler will be queuing up to bowl short at Bairstow but let's not forget that Roach had a new ball in his hand and was bowling with a fast arm at a skiddy pace.

The lad knows he has arrived in Test cricket now and will have to work it out.

Nasser Hussain: Anderson is the key to trapping stubborn Chanderpaul

Anderson is the key to trapping stubborn Chanderpaul

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UPDATED:

22:07 GMT, 17 May 2012

I know England weren't able to budge Shiv Chanderpaul but I think Andrew Strauss will have settled for that. When you look at some of the recent Test scores at Lord's, a total of 243 for nine is no great shakes from West Indies.

In fact, I'd say England bowled pretty well yesterday considering they had to adapt to home conditions following five Tests in a row in Asia. Jimmy Anderson in particular bowled beautifully with the new ball and Stuart Broad came back well late in the day.

Token resistance: West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul

Token resistance: West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul

But they're going to need to review how they bowl to Chanderpaul. Early on they went round the wicket with a 7-2 off-side field and tried to keep the ball away from his pads.

I can understand why: he's merciless through the leg side. But by doing that you're removing the option of getting him lbw – and he's a definite candidate. Among batsmen who have played at least 100 Test innings, only Mike Gatting, Younus Khan and Graham Gooch have a higher percentage of lbw dismissals.

Late in the day, when Broad had the second new ball, he showed how best to bowl to Chanderpaul. He pitched a ball up and swung it back into the left-hander, hitting his pads. Hawk-Eye showed the ball pitched outside leg stump, but you could see Chanderpaul wasn't comfortable.

Success: England's Jimmy Anderson dismisses Kieran Powell

Success: England's Jimmy Anderson dismisses Kieran Powell

If I were the captain, I'd back Anderson to attack his pads early and bowl stump to stump from over the wicket. Sure, he might get clipped for a few boundaries, but you can't risk allowing Chanderpaul to get in because he'll bat until the cows come home.

They could also have attacked Darren Bravo more early on. He aimed an airy drive at his second ball and nicked it at catchable height between third slip and gully. I realise you can't always have four or five slips, but I'd like to see more aggressive fields set to the new batsman.

The bowler on that occasion was Anderson, who looks the real deal every time he bowls. The key is the late swing he gets, which makes him look nippier on the slow pitch than Broad or Tim Bresnan – and makes him a nightmare to face. But, as the pitch quickened later, Broad became more of a threat.

If England can hone their method of attack to Chanderpaul, they really will have control of this series.

James Anderson sent for thumb X-ray

Injury fear for England ahead of crucial summer as star man Anderson has thumb X-ray

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UPDATED:

12:57 GMT, 2 May 2012

England seamer James Anderson has been sent for an X-ray after being hit on the thumb in his return to county action at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

England have been keen to get their Test stars back into first-class action before the series against the West Indies later this month, but an injury to their first-choice paceman is the last thing they want ahead of the international summer.

Back in action: Anderson returned for Lancashire this week

Back in action: Anderson returned for Lancashire this week

Anderson was struck on the right thumb attempting a catch at gully on the first morning of Lancashire's LV= County Championship Division One clash with Nottinghamshire, who included fellow England stars Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann in their side.

Anderson initially felt able to continue bowling but headed for the pavilion at the end of a fine 10-over spell and has been sent for X-rays as a precaution.

The 30-year-old, who conceded just eight runs in a probing spell, sustained the injury after taking a couple of blows to the hand in the morning session.

Steaming in: Anderson bowled a hostile spell in the morning

Steaming in: Anderson bowled a hostile spell in the morning

The first came when Lancashire skipper Glen Chapple found Michael Lumb's edge and the ball flew to Anderson at gully.

The ball carried to him at pace and he was only able to parry to third slip, where Ashwell Prince claimed the catch.

He celebrated with his colleagues and did not appear to in any discomfort as he bowled three more overs – during which he took a further knock when fielding off his own bowling.

But he left the field as soon as his spell was complete and was sent to hospital as a precaution.

Australia v India: Tourists in command on day three

India on top despite Hilfenhaus heroics as Aussie openers fail on day three

Australia held an overall lead of 230 runs at stumps on day three of the first Test against India at the MCG, after reaching 179 for eight in their second innings.

Michael Hussey (79 not out) and Ricky Ponting (60) combined for a 115-run stand that halted a damaging top-order collapse – but the latter”s dismissal means India are in command of a see-saw contest.

Hussey, dropped in the slips by Rahul Dravid in the shadows of stumps, will join number 10 James Pattinson (three not out) when play resumes.

Steadying the ship: Hussey and Ponting

Steadying the ship: Hussey and Ponting”s stand halted the top-order collapse

Australia v India

Click here for a full scorecard

The hosts” top four each failed to reach double figures, undoing the superb work of Ben Hilfenhaus – who earlier today claimed his first Test five-wicket haul to earn Australia a 51-run first-innings lead.

Under-fire veterans Hussey and Ponting came to the crease after young Indian quick Umesh Yadav (four wickets for 49 runs) rifled through the top order to leave Australia teetering on 27 for four.

Ponting hit his second half-century of the match by driving off the back foot to deep point and then running all four runs to raucous applause of the 40,000-strong crowd. Hussey, out for a golden in the first innings, reached his 50 the next over as Australia regained the momentum.

But 36-year-old Ponting fell well short of a drought-breaking hundred when he presented a catch to gully off veteran seamer Zaheer Khan (two for 32).

And when out-of-form Brad Haddin was out for six, caught at second slip also to Zaheer, and tail-enders Peter Siddle (four) and Nathan Lyon (nought) followed, the tourists had wrested back control with two days to play.

Fifteen wickets fell on a day dominated by the bowlers despite there being no obvious signs of uneven bounce or menace in the wicket.

Aussie

Aussie”s ruled: Yadav traps Cowan LBW and Marsh”s stumps are rattled (below)

Aussie

The visitors lost seven wickets for 68 runs during the morning session to be all out for 282 after Hilfenhaus claimed five for 75 in a devastating spell.

He removed Dravid (68), Virat Kohli (11), MS Dhoni (six) and Ishant Sharma (11) to dent India”s challenge after they resumed at 214 for three, in reply to Australia”s first-innings 333.

Fans had barely settled in their seats before Dravid was clean bowled second ball of the day. The Tasmanian seamer produced a perfect delivery which came in and then moved away slightly to beat the outside edge of Dravid”s bat and hit the top of off-stump.

Siddle (three for 63) then had VVS Laxman caught behind by Haddin for two – and Australia took control when Hilfenhaus struck twice within three overs midway through the morning session.

Kohli presented a simple catch to Haddin after edging an outswinger and skipper Dhoni lasted three deliveries against the new ball before picking out Hussey at gully.

Nightwatchman Sharma provided the most resistance but eventually presented Haddin with his fifth catch of the innings.

However Australia blew a chance to take control of the match when they suffered a dramatic top-order collapse.

David Warner (five) was the first to go chopping a ball from Yadav onto the stumps while his partner Ed Cowan (eight) was out three balls later, foolishly leaving a ball that straightened and struck him on the pads.

Five alive! It was a memorable day for Aussie seamer Hilfenhaus

Five alive! It was a memorable day for Aussie seamer Hilfenhaus (and below)

Five alive! It was a memorable day for Aussie seamer Hilfenhaus

Shaun Marsh was bowled for three, playing on to his stumps when attempting to drive a pitched-up Yadav ball.

Then captain Michael Clarke (one) made it a pair of failures in the series opener when Sharma tore through his defence with a 149.9 km/h thunderbolt.

India”s enforced absence of the decision review system has again worked to their advantage in this contest.

Ravichandran Ashwin was struck in front in the first session only to be given not out despite replays showing the ball hitting middle and leg stumps.

And replays showed Cowan”s dismissals – caught behind in the first innings and lbw in the second – were both incorrect.