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Matt Prior happy with England fightback

Prior takes solace after fightback and claims England can still eke out a draw in India

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UPDATED:

18:27 GMT, 17 November 2012

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We are unable to carry live pictures from the First Test in Ahmedabad due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

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England did their best to put a 'shocker' of a first innings behind them as they followed on 330 runs behind against India at the Sardar Patel Stadium.

It was hard to make much sense of a day of two halves in which the tourists lurched from 41 for three to 191 all out by teatime to the spin of Pragyan Ojha (five for 45) and Ravichandran Ashwin (three for 80), yet then moved serenely to stumps on 111 without loss.

Captain Alastair Cook tried to lead from the front both times, getting as far as 41 first time round and then an unbeaten 74 at the second attempt in an unbroken century stand with debutant Nick Compton.

With two days remaining in the first Test, it is tough to work out which England will turn up tomorrow.
Wicketkeeper Matt Prior is struggling to make sense of events so far, but is pinning his hopes on the belief that England have learned the errors of their ways.

Happy: Matt Prior is delighted with the way England have fought back

Happy: Matt Prior is delighted with the way England have fought back

'We all know our first innings was a bit of a shocker,' said Prior, whose battling 48 from number eight was England's best first-innings score.

'As a professional sportsman, you have to look forward – and the way Compo and Cookie went about their business was absolutely fantastic.

'To end up none down at close of play, we'll take a huge amount from that.'

Prior is both a realist and an optimist.

'We're still behind in the game, obviously, but it gives us a lot of confidence so we can go out tomorrow and try to bat for a long period of time – which we need to do,' he said.

'To end up none down at close of play, we'll take a huge amount from that.'

– Matt Prior

'I sat here two days before the Test match and said “It's all very well talking – you've got to go out and do it”.

'Unfortunately, in the first innings we didn't do it.

'I think we're all honest enough to hold our hands up and say “Right, we didn't get that right”.

'Maybe we got a little bit too ahead of ourselves, and a bit panicky.'

Kevin Pietersen was perhaps the least convincing of all, while Ian Bell's first-ball exit was the most embarrassing after he went down the wicket and was caught at mid-off.

Prior knows of old both are capable of world-class batting, and said: 'KP' is one of our main batters, but he's only one player.

'We watched Kevin batting at Headingley against (Dale) Steyn and (Morne) Morkel (last summer), at Colombo getting 150.

'But because he doesn't get runs today, we can't all fall apart.

'He's one player in a team of 11, and we all need to hold our hands up.'

Bell was anxious to dominate Ojha from the outset, but never gave himself a chance.

'Belly is one of the finest batters at hitting over the top that I know, and the one thing we talk about is playing your own game and backing yourself,' added Prior.

'Only Belly will know the plan he had … and it didn't come off.

'These are the fine lines in sport. It doesn't come off, and it doesn't look great admittedly.

Composed: Alastair Cook made a half century in England's second innings

Composed: Alastair Cook made a half century in England's second innings

'But you cannot question the quality and class of a batsman like Ian Bell. We all know, and hope he's going to show it.

'There's no point sulking. He knows he probably got it slightly wrong. But we've got a big second innings coming up, and I'm sure he'll be as motivated as any of our batters to get a big score.'

Whoever makes good on the start Cook and Compton have made, Prior believes it is still feasible to eke out a draw.

'In the second innings we seemed to be a lot calmer,' he said.

'There are no demons. Yes, it's turning a bit and bouncing a bit – but you can bat out there.

'It's certainly not a snakepit by any stretch of the imagination.

'We're still in this game. We're behind the game, but we're still in it and fighting hard. That's all you can do'

– Matt Prior

'There's no point crying over spilt milk – you have to move on.

'We knew that we under-performed – no one was more frustrated than the guys sitting in the dressing room – but most importantly, we've gone out there (again) and we're none down for 111.

'That's a fantastic turnaround.

'We're still in this game. We're behind the game, but we're still in it and fighting hard. That's all you can do.

'If we get anything from this game, it will be a fantastic effort. But it's not unrealistic.'

Ojha knows he may have to work harder to see off Bell and Pietersen so cheaply next time.

Of the former, he said: 'He has a weakness against left-arm spin. But I won't be taking him easy in this series, because he's a very good batsman.'

As for Bell, he added: 'I think when you're playing a five-day Test, and a batsman comes at you like that the very first delivery, it's a very encouraging thing as a spinner.'

India v England first test: England fight back but face uphill struggle

England show fighting spirit but still face uphill struggle after spin assault

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UPDATED:

11:37 GMT, 17 November 2012

PICTURE DISPUTE

We are unable to carry live pictures from the First Test in Ahmedabad due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

England rediscovered their fight but still face a mountainous task to salvage a first-Test stalemate after collapsing to Indian spin on day three and having to follow on 330 runs behind.

If their position was no longer hopeless by stumps, thanks to an overdue stand of substance between openers Alastair Cook and Nick Compton at their second attempt, it was still hard to argue with a consensus that they will probably lose an unequal struggle at some point over the next two days.

Pragyan Ojha (five for 45) and Ravichandran Ashwin (three for 80) bowled England out for 191, yet neither of the Indian spinners could make any inroads in 28 more overs between them when the tourists tried again and succeeded to the tune of 111 for none.

Only Cook's lbw scare, sweeping at
Ojha on 41, brought significant alarm on his way to an unbeaten 74 which
restated his commitment to leading from the front as new Test captain.

Going good: Nick Compton showed a good understanding with Alistair Cook

Going good: Nick Compton showed a good understanding with Alistair Cook

In England's first innings,
conversely, a wicket was forever imminent as Ojha and Ashwin made a
nonsense of Graeme Swann's manful attempts to chip through India on what
had appeared a lifeless surface on the first two days of this series.

Suddenly, the Sardar Patel Stadium was
a snakepit as – in reply to 521 for eight declared – England lost four
wickets for 69 runs this morning and then, despite Matt Prior's best
efforts, their last three by teatime.

Prior responded to a critical
situation with determination, interspersed with his instinct for
counter-attacking strokeplay, but could not turn the tide.

England had endured successive
wicketless mornings while Virender Sehwag and then double-centurion
Cheteshwar Pujara piled on the runs.

They never looked likely to continue the sequence with bats in their hands.

Kevin Pietersen's comeback innings
following his successful 'reintegration' was fretful throughout, rarely
in his crease as he sought to stop Ojha dictating events.

The result appeared reckless rather than effective – from the outset.

He could easily have been out twice
before adding to his overnight six, up the wicket in the first over and
having to dive back as the ball bounced off his pad to silly-point, and
missing another from out of his ground which thankfully also beat
Mahendra Singh Dhoni down the leg-side.

A brief illusion of permanence
followed until Ojha knocked out middle-stump as Pietersen played inside a
delivery which turned sharply from wide on the crease round the wicket.

England's collective solution to last
winter's failings against spin, broadly, has been to ditch the sweep and
play much less from the crease.

Solid: England captain Cook (left) oversaw a good fightback

Solid: England captain Cook (left) oversaw a good fightback

Ian Bell has taken the 'remedy' to
extremes, however, and paid the price instantly when he was up the
wicket to Ojha and went through with an attempted lofted drive only to
depart embarrassingly for a golden duck – caught at deep mid-off.

Cook crossed and survived the hat-trick ball.

But soon afterwards Ashwin lured him into a drive and had him edging some spin low to slip, where Sehwag took a neat catch.

Prior was dropped on three after clubbing a full-toss from Ashwin to Zaheer Khan on the square-leg boundary.

Samit Patel had no such luck. He got
past the initial spin threat but was then lbw to one perhaps sliding
towards leg when India finally introduced frontline seamer Umesh Yadav.

Prior and Tim Bresnan closed out the session, and began the next with promise in a stand of 47.

But Bresnan, understandably playing
low in defence, was undone by rare extra bounce as Ojha picked up his
fourth wicket – caught at gully.

Stuart Broad announced himself by
hitting Ojha over midwicket for four first ball; then when Ashwin
returned, he took 13 of the 14 runs off his first over back, including a
six over long-on from the crease.

But England's first-innings resistance
was short-lived, Broad lbw to one from Zaheer that again might have
beaten leg-stump, and then Prior last out missing an inside-out drive at
Ojha.

It seemed then that the tourists were
on the fast track to defeat, until Cook and Compton revived hope that
they could yet head for Mumbai next week 0-0 with three to play.

India v England: Cheteshwar Pujara double hundred piles pressure on Alastair Cook

England in big trouble as Cook's men lose Compton, Anderson AND Trott under spin barrage after Pujara's double ton fires India

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UPDATED:

11:42 GMT, 16 November 2012

PICTURE DISPUTE

We are unable to carry live pictures from the First Test in Ahmedabad due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

England made a hapless start in their efforts to save the first Test, despite an eight-and-a-half-hour demonstration from Cheteshwar Pujara of the skills they need to do so.

India's 521 for eight declared owed much to Pujara's tour de force 206 not out, and more than a little too to the adventure of Virender Sehwag with his destructive hundred yesterday.

The upshot on day two at the Sardar Patel Stadium was that new England captain Alastair Cook and debutant Nick Compton's first task, in pursuit of an opening stalemate in this four-match series, was to come through 18 overs unscathed.

The Wall mk II: Cheteshwar Pujara hit a brilliant 206 not out for India

The Wall mk II: Cheteshwar Pujara hit a brilliant 206 not out for India

India v England: First Test
Click here to see a full scorecard
Captain Cook suffers nightmare first day: How the play unfolded on day one

Cook survived. But Compton, nightwatchman
James Anderson and then Jonathan Trott could not stay with him in a
distinctly unpromising stumps total of 41 for three.

England were confronted immediately
with Ravichandran Ashwin's much-hyped variations, and spin at both ends
by the 10th over when slow left-armer Pragyan Ojha joined in.

A big off-break was too much for
Compton, turning between bat and pad to hit leg-stump and give Ashwin
his 50th Test wicket, in record Indian time.

Anderson went bat-pad to Ojha an over later, and then in the next Trott fell likewise to Ashwin.

Pujara had earlier ploughed on remorselessly to a maiden double-hundred at this level in only his sixth Test.

He shared a fifth-wicket stand of 130
with Yuvraj Singh (74), and put on another 66 for the seventh with
Ashwin before England were granted a rest – after 160 overs of hard and
largely unrewarded slog in the sun.

Graeme Swann eventually took his
wicket tally to five, for the 14th time for his country, but his
successes here came at a cost of 144 runs on a lifeless surface offering
only slow and irregular turn.

Leading from the front: England captain Alastair Cook dug in until the close

Leading from the front: England captain Alastair Cook dug in until the close

If there was a consolation for
England, it was that this pitch has yet to show any significant signs of
deterioration – and therefore their prospects of closing out a draw
should remain viable.

During their second consecutive
wicketless morning, Yuvraj passed a poignant comeback half-century – in
his first Test innings since recovering from cancer – and Pujara
completed India's second individual hundred of the match.

Yuvraj reached his 98-ball 50 with a
big hit over midwicket off Swann for his fifth four, to go with a one
straight six also off the off-spinner.

England gave the ball, only four overs old, to Swann rather than seam at each end this morning.

But the closest they came to a
breakthrough before lunch was with a series of lbw appeals, the most
convincing of which was Swann's from only the second ball of the day
when Yuvraj missed a sweep without addition to his overnight 24.

He and Pujara then appeared to target
Swann, taking 15 off one over – including that six from Yuvraj – but
Cook kept his nerve, and the off-spinner continued.

/11/16/article-2233872-141C70B5000005DC-704_468x286.jpg” width=”468″ height=”286″ alt=”Five-fer: Graeme Swann added another Indian scalp to his overnight haul” class=”blkBorder” />

Five-fer: Graeme Swann added another Indian scalp to his overnight haul

Cook employed some unconventional
fielding positions at times, posting a seven-two off-side arrangement –
with no catchers behind the bat – to help Anderson dry up the run-rate
against Pujara.

The stoic No 3 is not a batsman to
respond with a loss of patience, however, and it seemed England's best
hope was to try to out-bore him and hope for a mistake from Yuvraj.

It was not until early afternoon that they had any respite.

Yuvraj clubbed a Samit Patel full-toss
to Swann in the leg-side deep, and then the off-spinner put himself
back in the wickets column too when Mahendra Singh Dhoni deflected an
attempted sweep down on to his stumps.

Pujara remained less co-operative,
still showing no signs of weariness as he negotiated a third successive
full session in an innings which would eventually encompass 389 balls.

It also contained 21 fours, many
classy deflections to leg and a collection driven down the ground –
until England's damage limitation left him little option but to pick off
runs into that packed off-side.

Kevin Pietersen had Ashwin edging a
cut behind, but it was not until Zaheer Khan speared an attempted drive
at Anderson to Trott at backward point that the first wicket at last
fell to pace.

Shortly afterwards, with Pujara's
double-century safely in the book, Dhoni decided it was time for
England's batsmen to be tested.

Sachin Tendulkar can bow out on his own terms – Martin Samuel

Little Master can bow out on his own terms

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UPDATED:

21:15 GMT, 15 November 2012

Sir Don Bradman was out for a duck in his final Test innings. Nijinsky lost his last two races. Bobby Moore was eventually dropped by Sir Alf Ramsey. Brian Clough was relegated with Nottingham Forest.

It comes for them all in the end. Brigitte Bardot stopped making films before she turned 40. She said it was the only elegant way to end her career. The greats of sport rarely possess such insight. As Sachin Tendulkar holed out to Samit Patel on the leg-side boundary yesterday, opinion instantly divided as to whether this was just an uncommonly bad trot that would soon be rectified, or the continued betrayal of the talent of the greatest batsman of modern times.

A professional controversialist could achieve easy notoriety in these parts by rubbishing the latter career of the Little Master. Tendulkar provokes such devotion in his homeland that his cheap dismissal by England here was being rewritten as a small triumph in some quarters, because it made him the only Indian batsman not to be clean bowled by Graeme Swann. It is doubtful he saw it that way.

Little Master: Tendulkar failed to make big runs in the first innings against England

Little Master: Tendulkar failed to make big runs in the first innings against England

Tendulkar tucked Swann away to the boundary to take his score to 13 and, from the next ball, played a simply woeful shot, snaffled by Patel, who had been placed there for precisely that purpose.

The silence that befell the arena in the dusty Motera district echoed the shock of a death in the family. All day, locals had been arriving at the gates of the Sardar Patel Stadium, inspired by the news that India had won the toss and would bat.

They were delighted by the return to form of Virender Sehwag and Gujarat’s Chetesh-war Pujara, but there was one man above all they had come to see. It was 23 years to the day since he made his debut for India and this was his 315th Test innings, but India will never tire of the flashing blade of Tendulkar.

India v England – pictures

We are unable to carry live pictures from the First Test in Ahmedabad due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

‘There is something special about bowling to him in India,’ said Swann. ‘Just the noise as he is about to come out to bat. You know who it is before he has left the changing room. You can tell this is the greatest batsman to still be playing the game. So getting him out means a lot; and not just getting him out, but getting him out early.’

Twenty-five minutes and 18 balls of early, to be precise. This on a track that saw Sehwag hit his first Test century in two years and Pujara close the day on 98 not out in only his sixth Test.

The roar as Tendulkar emerged made the 54,000-capacity stadium sound as if his devotees were hanging from the rafters — the estimated 10,000 crowd was better than expected but still a small disappointment in a country so in love with the game — but on his return to the pavilion it felt more like Mudville, the setting for the famous baseball poem, Casey At The Bat: ‘Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright; The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light, And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout; But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out.’

That is what India’s Casey does a lot
these days, too. His Test scores this year read: 41, 80, 15, 8, 25, 13,
19, 17, 27 and now 13. His last Test century was in Cape Town against
South Africa in January 2011.

He has scored two centuries since
October 2010 and he has been bowled in five of his Test dismissals in
the last 12 months. At the start of his career it took bowlers four
years — and 42 innings — to find his stumps five times.

Day of toil: England were made to work hard for their wickets - of which Swann (below) duly obliged four

Day of toil: England were made to work hard for their wickets – of which Swann (below) duly obliged four

Day of toil: England were made to work hard for their wickets - of which Swann (below) duly obliged four

And there is the problem. Plainly, Tendulkar — the only batsman whose name can be mentioned in the same breath as Bradman — has earned the right to take leave of the stage on his terms. Plainly, there is nobody within Indian cricket, not even strong-willed coach Duncan Fletcher, who would presume to usher him away a moment before he was ready.

Yet great sportsmen are notoriously poor judges of when to leave the crowd wanting more. Tendulkar lives for cricket; in India it is not unreasonable to conclude that cricket lives for him. He plainly believes he has more to give, and perhaps he does.

So how does this end When the time comes, as it did for the others that made India the greatest Test team in the world, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, who will be brave enough to call time on the career of the great Tendulkar Will he; will they How does a man with 15,546 Test runs know when, or where, to stop At the end of this series It is hardly likely.

The presumption has always been that, when it is right, Tendulkar will bow out in fitting surroundings, such as his home town of Mumbai, India’s cricket capital. Yet the next Test is to be played in Mumbai.

The final Test of England’s tour is in Nagpur, at a stadium that has only been open for Test matches four years. It does not have the feel of a venue at which India should say farewell to its greatest sporting hero.

Penny for 'em: Mionty was on the sidelines when he should have been out in the middle

Penny for 'em: Mionty was on the sidelines when he should have been out in the middle

Indeed, who would even have the temerity to raise such a dreadful subject It may have been another day to forget for Tendulkar here but, closing at 323 for four, how much of India’s imposing performance was inspired by his presence The young players idolise him, contemporaries revere him, England’s delight at claiming his wicket did not suggest a hollow triumph over some weak link. No player could bring to the team spirit what Tendulkar does and maybe that alone is enough.

On Wednesday, the day before the game, as the majority of his team-mates retired to the shade of their air-conditioned changing room, one batsman continued to toil in the sweltering nets. Maybe, deep down, the Little Master knows times are changing, but who can blame him for trying with every last sinew of his strength to resist, or change them back To the days when those who trekked to Motera would not have merely glimpsed greatness, but gloried in it, ball by ball, over by over, run by run, hour by hour.

‘Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell; It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell; It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat, For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.’ As heroes do. Until there really is nothing more to give.

Steven Finn likely to miss England Test as Stuart Broad could be fit

Bresnan on stand-by with Finn unlikely to be fit for first India Test but England ready to risk Broad

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UPDATED:

09:02 GMT, 13 November 2012

England are set to go into Thursday’s first Test against India at Ahmedabad without their fastest bowler after Steven Finn failed to bowl in the nets this morning.

Finn has been recovering well from the thigh strain that interrupted his tour only four overs into the opening day of the first match, against India A in Mumbai, but England’s medical staff are unwilling to risk aggravating the injury so early in a long tour.

Instead, Finn will target the second Test at Mumbai, starting on November 23.

Ready to go: Broad came through the latest net session unscathed

Ready to go: Broad came through the latest net session unscathed

But there was better news for Stuart
Broad, who remains on course to play on Thursday after emerging
unscathed from a rigorous workout in the nets. Assuming his bruised left
heel doesn’t flare up again over the next 48 hours, he will take the
new ball against India with Jimmy Anderson.

Finn’s place will go either to Tim
Bresnan or Monty Panesar, with Bresnan – the tour’s leading wicket-taker
so far with nine – favourite to play.

The extra dimensions he provides both
with the bat (he would head a strong lower order at No 8), and in the
field (he is a potential third slip) count in his favour.

But the pitch at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad was relaid recently, and is expected to take turn sooner than normal.

Panesar has taken five wickets at an
average of 26 in two warm-up matches on this trip, and his left-arm spin
could be useful against an Indian top seven that includes five
right-handers.

Big loss: Finn missed net practice today and appears set to miss out

Big loss: Finn missed net practice today and appears set to miss out

England wicketkeeper Matt Prior later
agreed that Finn’s chances of recovering sufficiently from the thigh
strain he suffered two weeks ago might have receded.

'The
one thing you would say is, if there was a realistic chance of Finny
playing, then he probably would have had a long bowl today,' said Prior.

He
was more equivocal thereafter, but it nonetheless seems probable that
England feel unable to risk the match fitness of two fast bowlers in a
three-man pace attack and have decided Broad is their best bet.

'We’ll see how he comes in tomorrow – they might be saving it,' Prior added of Finn.

'With an injury like this, every day counts.

Obvious candidate: Tim Bresnan could complete England's attack

Obvious candidate: Tim Bresnan could complete England's attack

'He looks good, feels good; it’s coming along brilliantly. So we’ll just have to wait and see.'

If
Finn has run out of time, Prior concedes the situation is not ideal –
but he is confident England have the resources to cover the tall fast
bowler’s absence.

'It’s a setback. I’m sure coach and captain would want to be able to choose from every player that’s out here.

'But we have a lot of strength and depth in the squad. It’s one thing that’s made our squad so strong over the last couple of years.

'If Finny’s not available, there’s another guy that can step in and do as good a job – that’s the way we look at it.'

Tim Bresnan is the obvious candidate to complete England’s pace attack, alongside Broad and James Anderson.

Confident: Matt Prior (left) is sure England will have enough to overcome India with or without Finn

Confident: Matt Prior (left) is sure England will have enough to overcome India with or without Finn

Nick Compton scores half-century in warm-up match against Haryana

Immaculate timing from Compton as England opener scores another half-century ahead of first Test with India

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UPDATED:

12:35 GMT, 10 November 2012

Nick Compton will make his Test debut high on confidence next week after his third successive half-century for England.

As the tourists again found runs easy to come by but wickets significantly harder on the Sardar Patel B Ground's ultra-flat surface, their new Test opener-in-waiting added a second-innings 54 not out to his 74 two days ago.

England's struggle to bowl out Haryana lasted until teatime on day three of four in this final warm-up match, thanks largely to Rahul Dewan – who carried his bat for a near eight-hour 143.

In the Nick of time: Compton is finding form at the right time heading into the first Test

In the Nick of time: Compton is finding form at the right time heading into the first Test

Haryana v England

Click here for the full scorecard

But when they did complete the job, Haryana reaching 334, they still had a lead of 187 and therefore the notional option of enforcing the follow-on.

After spending almost 115 overs in the field under a hot sun and cloudless skies, it was no surprise they chose to bat again instead – and not much more of one that captain Alastair Cook, after his first-innings 97, decided Jonathan Trott (61no) could partner Compton in his place at the top of the order.

The South Africa-born pair did not look in the least trouble either, on the way to twin 98-ball 50s in a stumps total of 118 for none, to deal with a seam attack which had posed so few problems first time round on this bowlers' graveyard.

Compton's big stride in forward defence, and off-drive, is already a familiar sight after two weeks on tour – and his initial nought and one against India A and Mumbai A are becoming happily distant memories.

He helped to put England in position to bat on for perhaps half a session tomorrow, before Cook judges the time is right to again set about the tougher task of taking opposition wickets.

If Compton's batting has become increasingly assured, the same could not be said of his fielding and catching as he and others showed signs of weariness while Dewan continued remorselessly.

Century boy: Dewan carried his bat for 144 as England struggled to tidy up the innings

Century boy: Dewan carried his bat for 144 as England struggled to tidy up the innings

Century boy: Dewan carried his bat for 144 as England struggled to tidy up the innings

The Haryana opener edged short and wide of the slips more than once but mostly presented a broad bat in a 315-ball stay.

As England's stamina underwent an extreme yet appropriate test, for the challenges to come in a four-Test series, Compton floored one straightforward chance and Matt Prior, back on duty after yesterday's stomach upset, was also short of his best behind the stumps.

Among their bowlers, Tim Bresnan (three for 66) got more than most out of the surface but even he could not shift Dewan.

The Yorkshireman impressed as England's most likely wicket-taker yesterday, and got them under way again today when he had Sandeep Singh pushing tentatively forward and edging low to Cook at slip.

The captain was in the firing line three more times before lunch. But the ball evaded his grasp when Amit Mishra twice edged past slip and Dewan, on 87, did likewise off Jonathan Trott – a rare false shot in a compact and controlled tour de force.

In the wickets: Bresnan and Meaker (below) both took three scalps

In the wickets: Bresnan and Meaker (below) both took three scalps

In the wickets: Bresnan and Meaker (below) both took three scalps

Mishra was gone relatively soon anyway,
turned round by Stuart Meaker and caught behind to give the Surrey
seamer his first first-class wicket for England.

But Dewan remained to complete his sixth first-class hundred with a cut for his 14th four – earning the polite applause of the bowler, Monty Panesar, in acknowledgment.

Meaker (three for 74) got through Jayant Yadav's defences and knocked over off-stump and would have had a third wicket had Prior managed to hold a diving catch down the leg-side to see off Amit Vashisht for just four.

Compton put down Vashisht again at point off Graham Onions, a glaring miss but one which cost only five runs before Samit Patel got his man lbw pushing forward.

Dewan was then joined in a ninth-wicket stand of 62 by Chanderpal Saini, the number 10 belying the fact he was playing in only his second first-class match at the age of 25 after a debut just last week – until Meaker had him lbw, before last man Sanjay Budhwar was caught in the gully off Kevin Pietersen for nought.

There was still time to push for a morale-boosting win, all the more so after the unbroken century opening stand which followed.

Digging in: Compton and Trott have both passed the half-century mark

Digging in: Compton and Trott have both passed the half-century mark

Steven Finn out of England"s tour match in India

Blow for England as Finn ruled out of remainder of first tour match after suffering thigh strain

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UPDATED:

06:39 GMT, 31 October 2012

Steven Finn will play no further part in England's first tour match against India A because of a thigh strain.

Finn underwent scans on Tuesday on his sore right leg, having left the field in pain after just four overs on the first morning of England's tour at the Brabourne Stadium.

Finn is a likely key component of the line-up for four Tests against India, starting in Ahmedabad on November 15.

Ruled out: A thigh strain has curtailed Finn's involvement in Mumbai

Ruled out: A thigh strain has curtailed Finn's involvement in Mumbai

England forthcoming matches in India

Tour match in Mumbai (November 3)

Tour match in Ahmedabad (November 8)

First Test – India v England, Ahmedabad (November 15)

Second Test – India v England, Mumbai (November 23)

Third Test – India v England, Kolkata (December 5)

Fourth Test – India v England, Nagpur (December 13)

There follows three Twenty20 and and five ODI matches.

The 6ft 7in fast bowler will therefore need to prove his fitness in England's final warm-up match, a four-day fixture against Haryana which begins at Ahmedabad's Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium on November 8.

An England and Wales Cricket Board text message this morning provided the official update on Finn's condition.

It confirmed a 'right thigh strain' and added: '(He will be) assessed over the next couple of days to determine a rehabilitation programme.'

Meanwhile, Nick Compton endured a false start to his prospective England career, with a third-ball duck against India A at the Brabourne Stadium on day two.

Twenty-nine-year-old Compton, grandson of the great Denis, is being pencilled in by many as likely replacement for the retired Andrew Strauss as new England Test captain Alastair Cook's opening partner on this tour.

But he will first need a substantial innings or two under his belt before the opening Test in Ahmedabad on November 15.

Compton left his first two deliveries from Ashok Dinda, the second notably close to off-stump, and was persuaded to push defensively forward at the third only to edge behind to Wriddiman Saha.

Straight out, Compton: The England hopeful faced just three balls on day two

Straight out, Compton: The England hopeful faced just three balls on day two