County round-up: Pietersen returns... to be undone by another slow left-arm spinner

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The Independent Online

Kevin Pietersen was straight back into the old routine yesterday as he began his comeback from surgery. Captaining Surrey against Cambridge MCCU, he hit two sixes and two fours as he moved smoothly to 30 – whereupon he was out, as so often before, to a slow left-arm spinner.

To add insult to injury, the young man who claimed his wicket – Zafar Ansari, who had Pietersen caught at slip by Craig Park – is on Surrey's books. That the rest of Surrey's young line-up did little better will not have improved his mood: the Londoners declared at 234 for 9 before Cambridge's opening pair, Ansari and Irishman Ben Ackland put on 101 for the first wicket before the home side reached 151 for 4 at close of play at Fenner's.

Elsewhere, two more England batsmen – Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara – have been pitched into a tussle for a Test batting berth with the announcement of the England Lions side to face Sri Lanka at the County Ground, Derby, from 19-22 May.

Somerset's James Hildreth – another England candidate – will captain the team, which includes much-touted youngsters like the Yorkshire wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow and Hampshire's slow left-armer Danny Briggs. Samit Patel, whose physique may be the most scrutinised in English cricket history, is also in the 12-man squad.

Geoff Miller said: "It has been very pleasing to see many of the players selected for the England Lions squad last winter make good starts to the domestic season and they have been rewarded with an opportunity to play a strong Sri Lankan side and push for further international honours.

"England Lions games are crucial stages in a player's development and give selectors a good indication of whether players are ready to make the transition into the full England side. Furthermore, it's an excellent chance for fans to enjoy watching a talented young England squad take on a very good Sri Lankan Test side."

Nick Compton's hopes of an England call-up may be slim but a majesterial innings for Somerset at the Riverside, which took him to 254 not out yesterday, will do him no harm. Compton, 149 overnight, hit 25 boundaries in what was by some distance the biggest first-class score of his career. Somerset totalled 610 for 6, in reply to which Durham were 182 for 4 at stumps, some 428 runs behind.

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