Mike Atherton opened England's World Cup preparations yesterday

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The Independent Online
Mike Atherton opened England's World Cup preparations in earnest yesterday in the beautiful surroundings of Aitchison College, Imran Khan's old school. England have settled well in Lahore following their arrival on Sunday, and are working hard to erase the memory of six defeats from seven one-day outings at the end of the South African tour.

On Monday they practised in the nets for six hours and yesterday match conditions were simulated at the school which is less than a mile from the team hotel. With each pair of batsmen given 12 overs regardless of dismissals, Dominic Cork and Peter Martin took the early honours against Atherton and Alec Stewart. Cork had Stewart caught behind, then saw Graham Thorpe hold a nonchalant one-handed chance off the edge of Atherton's bat before extracting an lbw decision from the assistant manager, John Barclay, when Stewart was rapped on the pads. Martin chalked up a success against his Lancashire team-mate Atherton as Jack Russell took a second catch via the outside edge.

It was a lesson to England that batting first in this part of the world before the early morning dew has been burnt off by sunshine can be a tricky business. Seamers receive precious little help from subcontinent pitches and must make the most of any surface moisture. The only spectators were Aitchison College students, pausing on the boundary edge for a brief look between classes. Photograph: John Giles/PA