Relief for Fletcher as trio avoid injury ahead of first Test

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England's past, present and future united yesterday as Lancashire coolly demolished Northamptonshire in the C&G Trophy at Wantage Road.

The England coach Duncan Fletcher's build-up to this week's first Test at Lord's has been bedevilled by a succession of high-profile injuries, but a trio of England players all came through intact.

The new captain, Andrew Flintoff, emerged unscathed from his first competitive appearance of the season while team-mate Sajid Mahmood and Northampton's Monty Panesar, both called up for the Test against Sri Lanka which starts on Thursday, also avoided England's injury curse. But it was an old England hand, Dominic Cork, who stole the show, claiming three wickets in five balls to lay the foundations for Lancashire's eight-wicket romp.

Alastair Cook celebrated his England call-up for this week's Test in fine style against Ireland at Chelmsford. The 21-year-old left-hander struck an unbeaten 91 from 106 deliveries as Essex coasted to an eight-wicket victory in the C&G Trophy with six of their 43 overs to spare.

Cook did experience a few anxious moments early on as John Mooney and Trent Johnston passed the outside of his bat, but once he settled in the Irish were left fighting a losing battle. He repeatedly penetrated the field with fluent drives as he completed his half-century with his eighth four - a stroke which also brought up the 100 in the 21st over. Cook went on to collect four more boundaries while confirming what an exciting talent he is.

Surrey slipped to a 26-run defeat by Somerset as Arul Suppiah impressed with bat and ball in the C&G Trophy match at the Oval.

Somerset's 279 for 5 with fifties from Matthew Wood (92) and Suppiah (63) left the home side with a lot to do. Mark Ramprakash (56) top-scored for Surrey before being caught by James Hildreth off Cameron White. Suppiah's work with the ball saw him take 4 for 39 including bowling Tim Murtagh for nine before victory was sealed when Jade Dernbach ran out Nayan Doshi (3).