England humbled by Rashid

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The Independent Online

For a slow learner, Adil Rashid spends a surprising amount of time at the top of the class. The Yorkshire leg-spinner, relegated from the England Test squad for the forthcoming trip to Bangladesh on account of his failure to improve on tour in South Africa, took three wickets yesterday as England Lions completed an impressive victory over the full England Twenty20 side.

Rashid wasn't the only one to impress. Craig Kieswetter, Somerset's South African wicketkeeper, scored 81 for the Lions as they chased down the England total of 157-6 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Kieswetter qualified to play for England this week and his performances for the Lions in recent days have made his elevation to the full side seem inevitable.

He said afterwards that his performance was inspired by England's recent efforts, which is something for the senior XI to take from a disappointing performance. "As Lions we set standards and we want to be able to play the aggressive brand of cricket England as a whole are trying to play," he said. "Throughout our series we've been trying to play this kind of brave cricket that England are looking to play."

That they undoubtedly did. England batted first and were unable to ever truly break the shackles imposed by Rashid (3 for 22) and Steven Finn (2 for 25), Middlesex's lanky fast-medium bowler.

England Lions reached their target in the final over when Michael Lumb – another South African – hit successive boundaries off the last two balls.

The likes of Kieswetter and Rashid could well soon be facing India, who are pressing for victory against South Africa after a frustrating, rain-hit fourth day in Kolkata. India must win to level the two-match series at 1-1 and with a 232-run lead and just seven wickets to take, they will expect to do so today.

In the play that was possible yesterday, the leg-spinner Amit Mishra dismissed Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis while Harbhajan Singh accounted for Alviro Petersen. The weather is expected to be clearer today: the tourists' hopes will rest largely on Hashim Amla and Ashwell Price, the two batsmen at the wicket.

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