Knight back on form

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The Independent Online

Nick Knight emerged from his recent loss of form to score a superb half–century for England in their weather–affected fourth one–day international against India.

The Warwickshire left–hander, man–of–the–series as recently as October during the triumphant tour to Zimbabwe, has struggled since his arrival in India and scored only 24 runs in the first three matches.

But today he broke out of his slump to hit a half–century off only 57 deliveries, including seven boundaries, as England progressed to 108 for one after 16 overs in a match reduced to 39 overs a side by heavy morning dew.

Knight's place in England's line–up had been under threat by his lack of runs, but it may have been saved by wicketkeeper James Foster being ruled out through sickness, prompting Marcus Trescothick to take the gloves and earn Graham Thorpe his first appearance of the series.

From the very start of today's game Knight looked positive and overshadowed Trescothick during a 71–run opening partnership spanning just 11 overs.

He hit the first boundary of the innings, driving Ajit Agarkar through point and then hit three more off Harbhajan Singh's only over before he was withdrawn from the attack.

Trescothick, by contrast, looked far more subdued and apart from a brief flurry, when he hit successive boundaries off Agarkar, was forced to play an unfamiliar anchor role.

His frustration finally got the better of him when he drove Anil Kumble on the up and was caught in the deep by Nayan Mongia, giving Andrew Flintoff a rare opportunity to impress at number three.

Flintoff quickly got off the mark and then drove Harbhajan down the drive for his first boundary before lofting Kumble over long off for a huge six.