Only Cook delivers as planning goes awry

ICC Combined XI 281 & 90-5 England 185-8 Dec

ICC Global Cricket Academy

Among the outstanding aspects of England's stupendous rise has been meticulous planning. The "i" has not been written that has gone undotted, the "t" never imagined without a cross, the opponents' weaknesses in any conceivable position rarely calculated to fewer than three decimal places.

It is probably fair to surmise that not everything went according to schedule in the early part of the second day of the touring team's match against the ICC Associate and Affiliate Combined here in Dubai. In reply to the opposition total of 281, England made 185 for 8 declared, having lost six wickets for 52 in the afternoon session.

Whichever way you slice it, that was not how proceedings were intended to unfold. This being England, they can still win their opening warm-up match and probably will. By the close their opponents' second innings had been reduced to 90 for 5, a lead of 186.

Only one man, Alastair Cook, the run machine himself, prospered for England. He made a characteristic 76, full of crisply timed flicks, pulls and back- foot punches, which brought him most of his 14 fours. Cook was married a few days before this trip; his powers appear to remain undiminished.

"It wasn't ideal and I think you have to put that down to rustiness," said Cook. "I was lucky with a couple of play-and-misses early on which some of the other lads nicked," said Cook. "It is important to spend that time in the middle because, no matter how many nets you have, the rhythm and tempo of subcontintental cricket does take a while to get used to.

"It is strange to come from such an amazing event to get down to some grafting and hard work and it does take a bit of getting used to. Thirty-six hours hardly constitutes a honeymoon but my wife knew she was marrying into the life of a cricketer and she's a good girl."

At the start of the day, England will have been keen to bat for as long as they dared, giving their batsmen precious time at the crease, take a stranglehold on the match and hope the pitch might wear sufficiently to give them a chance of winning. They might have declared, but not in quite such impecunious circumstances.

As it is, their batting, so formidable in so many circumstances of late, was as rusty as a six-inch nail left out in the rain for a year rather than simply having the bat in the loft for two months. Enthusiastically and accurately though the invitation side bowled – not least the Irish England Lion Boyd Rankin – on a pitch that had grown no more or less capricious than its relatively anodyne state of the first day, they were given abundant help by the batsmen.

Barely a wicket was truly earned by the bowling alone, either through building pressure or a spark of inspiration. The rewards, if not undeserved, came their way because of lapses of concentration, method or both.

To this catalogue of minor disaster, Cook was a distinguished exception, though even he perished to a leg-side flick. He was among the four victims of the dynamic and portly Afghanistan wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad, who would adorn any match in which he appears.

There was an early sign of what might befall England in the morning session. After an orthodox start while they negotiated the new ball, Andrew Strauss, the captain, and Cook, his deputy, seemed to have bedded in.

Strauss was then caught off a pull to short midwicket and shortly after Jonathan Trott, barely before he could start excavating the crease for hidden treasure, was aghast to be caught behind down the leg side. Both fell to the wholehearted and talented Afghan fast-medium bowler Hamid Hassan in a searching spell of nine overs.

Not long after he had come out of the attack, Hassan forlornly chased the pushed off-drive for four which brought Cook his 50, and tumbled over the picket fence lining the boundary. He will play no further in the match.

The period after lunch changed the planned course of the innings. Pietersen, shaping to drive, was beautifully caught by Shahzad darting to his left; Ian Bell wafted a touch casually outside off and was also held behind. Eoin Morgan quickly followed, pushing forward to the off-spinner Mohammad Nabi, the third Afghan in the invitation XI, and edging low to slip, where the Irishman Paul Stirling pouched the chance. When Cook went that was England's vaunted top six all accounted for.

No worries yet but England will have to learn quickly that long innings need to be played on these pitches without getting quick value for money. Some much-needed lusty blows followed as England lost two more wickets. They called it a day five minutes before tea and immediately made inroads into their opponents' batting for the second time in the match.

New-ball wickets will be vital to both sides in the Test series against Pakistan which begins next week and in that regard England have fulfilled their obligations in this match. William Porterfield, having scored one on the first day, did marginally worse this time, another victim caught behind to a leg-side flick and his fellow opener Stirling went in the second over, leg before to Stuart Broad.

Some circumspection naturally followed but England kept plugging away and prised themselves into a position where they might push for victory. They are using the match not simply for practice but for preparation. They are different things.

Dubai scoreboard

ICC Combined Associate and Affiliate XI v England

ICC Global Cricket Academy (First and second days of three): ICC Combined Associate and Affiliate XI lead England by 186 runs with five second-innings wickets in hand

England won toss

ICC COMBINED ASSOCIATE AND AFFILIATE XI First Innings

*W T S Porterfield c Davies b Broad 1

8 balls

P R Stirling b Broad 7

12 balls 1 four

K J Coetzer c Davies b Broad 1

10 balls

Saqib Ali c Swann b Finn 14

45 balls 3 fours

C G Williams c Davies b Swann 34

51 balls 1 six 6 fours

†Mohammad Shahzad c Broad b Anderson 51

58 balls 1 six 6 fours

Mohammad Nabi b Swann 0

2 balls

C Viljoen c Anderson b Broad 98

189 balls 1 six 13 fours

R M Haq lbw b Finn 26

49 balls 3 fours

W B Rankin c Finn b Anderson 43

76 balls 3 fours

Hamid Hassan not out 0

3 balls

Extras (lb2 w1 nb3) 6

Total (83.3 overs) 281

Fall: 1-1, 2-10, 3-11, 4-52, 5-82, 6-90, 7-122, 8-181, 9-277.

Bowling: J M Anderson 19-6-48-2, S C J Broad 16.3-6-46-4, S T Finn 17-3-60-2, G P Swann 23-0-95-2, I J L Trott 2-0-6-0, K P Pietersen 6-0-23-0.

ENGLAND First Innings

*A J Strauss c Haq b Hassan 17

44 balls 3 fours

A N Cook c Shahzad b Viljoen 76

121 balls 14 fours

I J L Trott c Shahzad b Hassan 1

8 balls

K P Pietersen c Shahzad b Rankin 15

44 balls 3 fours

I R Bell c Shahzad b Rankin 3

20 balls

E J G Morgan c Stirling b Nabi 1

8 balls

†S M Davies lbw b Haq 12

32 balls 2 fours

S C J Broad c Porterfield b Nabi 19

15 balls 4 fours

G P Swann not out 14

22 balls 1 six 2 fours

J M Anderson not out 12

18 balls 2 fours

Extras (b8 lb4 w1 nb2) 15

Total (for 8 dec, 55 overs) 185

Fall: 1-44, 2-54, 3-107, 4-121, 5-126, 6-132, 7-159, 8-159.

Did not nat: S T Finn.

Bowling: Hamid Hassan 11-4-26-2, C Viljoen 11-1-42-1, Mohammad Nabi 14-3-42-2, W B Rankin 16-3-49-2, R M Haq 3-1-14-1.

ICC COMBINED ASSOCIATE AND AFFILIATE XI Second Innings

*W T S Porterfield c Davies b Anderson 0

6 balls

P R Stirling lbw b Broad 0

3 balls

K J Coetzer b Anderson 31

71 balls 6 fours

Saqib Ali c Davies b Broad 2

25 balls

C G Williams c Bell b Swann 11

27 balls 1 four

†Mohammad Shahzad not out 34

59 balls 6 fours

Mohammad Nabi not out 9

33 balls 1 four

Extras (lb1 nb2) 3

Total (for 5, 37 overs) 90

Fall: 0-1, 2-2, 3-8, 4-31, 5-71.

To bat: W B Rankin, R M Haq, C Viljoen, G H Dockrell.

Bowling: J M Anderson 12-6-29-2, S C J Broad 9-5-15-2, G P Swann 10-1-33-1, S T Finn 6-3-12-0.

Umpires: B B Pradhan (Nep) and Zameer Haider (Pak) .

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'