The England Cricket team has been defeated by India A by 53 runs in a warm up match played at Palam A Ground, Delhi. It was a foggy, cold morning in Delhi and the match didn’t start on time because of bad light. So, a few overs were cut down and it was a 39-over encounter. The captain of the England team, Alastair Cook, kept himself out of the game and in his absence, Eoin Morgan led the side.

Morgan won the toss and invited the India A team to bat first. It was a very good toss to win. There was a bit of moisture in the pitch and the England bowlers had a great opportunity of grabbing some early wickets, but, they didn’t manage to do that. They were wayward at the start and bowled quite a few loose deliveries. Both the openers of the India A team put away those loose deliveries and gave their team a very good start.

The opening pair of Abhinav Mukund and Murali Vijay added 118 runs for the first wicket. Both the batsmen completed their half centuries during the partnership. Kedar Jadhav who came to bat at no. 3 also batted with good strike rate and scored 52 runs off just 50 deliveries. Because of the efforts of these three top order batsmen, India A put up a score of 224 runs on the board in 39 runs. According to the Duckworth-Lewis rule, the target was revised and England got a target of 229 runs in 39 overs.

The England batsmen performed pretty poorly in reply. Except Ian Bell, all other England batsmen looked out of sorts and threw their wickets away by playing loose shots. Bell looked in great form and played a fluent knock of 91 runs, but, despite his efforts, England wasn’t able to chase down the target. The England team got all out on just 175 runs and lost the match. The most successful bowler for the India A team was Ashok Menaria who took 3 wickets.

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The England cricket team has made a brilliant comeback in the second test match against India. On the rank turner at the Wankhede Stadium, India put up a score of 327 runs in the first innings and it seemed that it would be pretty tough for the England team to get past this score on this sort of deck, but, the English batsmen surprised everyone by easily negotiating the three top class Indian spinners.

Again, it was Captain Cook who led his team from the front. The England skipper was again rock solid in his defense. He played a number of delightful shots and made the Indian attack look like an ordinary one.

Cook looked in an aggressive mindset and he played quite a few lofted shots in his inning. He hit Pragyan Ojha for a boundary over mid on and then, hit the same bowler for a six over mid wicket.

Nick Compton also batted decently and he added 66 runs with Cook for the first wicket. He was looking pretty composed and it seemed that the Indian bowlers would have to wait for a bit log to break this opening partnership. But, then, all of a sudden, Pragyan Ojha produced a beauty. He got one to pitch on the leg stump and turn big. Compton tried to push the ball towards the off side, but, he didn’t manage to cover the turn. The ball took the outside edge and went to Sehwag at the first slip.

Jonathan Trott came at no. 3, but, he looked out of nick right from the outset. He was beaten outside the off stump on a couple of occasions and was eventually trapped in front of the wicket by Ojha.

After that, Cook was joined by Kevin Pietersen and these two batted beautifully. They added 110 runs for the third wicket and both of them are still unbeaten. At the end of the second day’s play, the score of England was 178 runs for the loss of 2 wickets. Cook was not out on 87, while, Pietersen was unbeaten on 62.

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Craig Kieswetter was not included in the England team for the super 8 match against Sri Lanka which was played at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium yesterday. Kieswetter had been struggling with his form in the completion and there were speculations that England might leave him out for the final super 8 match and the speculations turned out to be true. Jonny Bairstow kept wickets in the absence of Kieswetter in the match. Bairstow was keeping wickets after a long time and he made some mistakes behind the stumps. He missed a couple of stumping chances.

However, England didn’t manage to win the match and got knocked out of the tournament. The England captain, Stuart Broad, won the toss and decided to field first. Mahela Jayawardena again played a superb knock for his team. He scored 42 runs off 38 balls and was the top scorer for Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan team scored a total of 169 runs in 20 overs.

In the absence of Kieswetter, Luke Wright came to open the innings with Alex Hales.  England was again off to a poor start. The first wicket was down at the score of 16. Luke Wright tried to smash Lasith Malinga through point, but, he didn’t place the ball well and played it straight into the hands of Tilakaratne Dilshan who was at backward point. Malinga dismissed Bairstow and Hales in the same over with two brilliant slower deliveries.

Samit Patel was promoted in the batting order and he played well. He was the only English batsman who picked Ajantha Mendis. He didn’t have any trouble at all in facing Mendis and he hit some gorgeous shots against the mystery spinner. But, the wickets kept falling from the other end and England couldn’t chase down the target.

Malinga took five wickets for Sri Lanka and was named as the man of the match.

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Craig Kieswetter played a brilliant knock of 63 for Somerset in the semi final match of the Friends Life T20 tournament against Hampshire, but, despite his efforts, his team wasn’t able to qualify for the final and was beaten by Hampshire by 6 wickets.  Earlier, the Hampshire skipper, Dimitri Mascarenhas, won the toss and invited Somerset to bat first. Kieswetter and Richard Levi walked on to the park to open the innings for Somerset. Levi is renowned for his powerful shots and he was expected to hit some lusty blows in the first 6 overs. But, Mascarenhas removed him on the very first ball of the second over. Somerset lost the second wicket when the skipper, Trescothick, was knocked over by Mascarenhas.

The wickets kept falling regularly and five wickets were down on just 58 runs. Kieswetter continued to play sensibly from one end. He added 32 runs with Lewis Gregory and 35 runs with Arul Suppiah for the 6th and the 7th wicket respectively. These two partnerships helped Somerset achieve a respectable total of 125. Kieswetter remained not out on 63. He faced 58 deliveries and hit 5 fours and 1 six. Mascarenhas bowled brilliantly for Hampshire. He gave away only 11 runs in his quota of four overs and also took two wickets.

Hampshire was off to a very good start in reply. Michael Carberry played some beautiful shots and it seemed that Hampshire would chase down the target quite easily. But, all of a sudden, the team lost 3 quick wickets and Somerset was back in the match. Neil McKenzie also departed when the score was 72. But, Simon Katich and Sean Ervine played sensibly and took Hampshire to victory. Sean Ervine had also performed well with the ball and he was declared man of the match for his all round performance.

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Craig Kieswetter has scored a brilliant century for Somerset against Durham in a CB40 match. With the help of Kieswetter’s century, Somerset defeated Durham easily by 8 wickets. When Somerset won the match, more than 19 overs were still to be bowled in the match. Earlier in the day, the Durham skipper, DM Benkenstein, won the toss and decided to bat first. But, the start of Durham was not good. Peter Trego swung the new ball and gave some early blows to Durham. Two wickets were down on 9 runs. None of the Durham batsmen was able to play a big inning and Gareth Breese, who scored 31 runs, was the highest scorer. Durham was all out on 147. Peter Trego took three wickets for Somerset.

The target of 148 was not difficult at all for the strong batting line up of Somerset and Kieswetter made it even easier with his fantastic stroke play. He was in an aggressive mood right from the outset and he smashed every Durham bowler. He scored 103 runs off just 61 balls. He hit 9 fours and 6 towering sixes in his inning. He played some amazing shots on the off side and it was a joy watching him bat. This is the second consecutive century of Kieswetter. Before this inning, he scored 152 runs in a county championship match against Warwickshire. He has been in fine form this summer.

After the match, Kieswetter said that he is pretty happy with his form at the moment. He is hitting the ball well. Generally, Kieswetter is a top order batsman, but, he played down the order for England in the ODI matches against West Indies and Australia. He batted at no. 6. On being asked about that, Kieswetter said that he wants to contribute for the team and it doesn’t matter where he is batting. If the team management wants him to bat down the order, he is more than happy to do that.

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Kieswetter backs Flower

England ODI and T20 wicketkeeper, Craig Kieswetter, has said that the decision of Andy Flower to rotate the players is quite correct. He said that the current schedule is pretty hectic for the players. And especially for those players, who play all the three formats of the game, it becomes very difficult to maintain their fitness. So, rotation policy is a good way of keeping the players fresh and fit.

England team Management has been rotating its players pretty smartly in the last few series. In the last test against West Indies, two of the England strike bowlers (James Anderson and Stuart Broad) were rested and Steve Finn and Graham Onions were given the opportunity to play. Similarly, after taking 2-0 lead in the ODI series against Australia, Graeme Swann was rested and James Tredwell was brought into the team. Keiswetter said that Swann is struggling a bit with his elbow. So, a few days rest would help him to prepare well for the first test against Proteas.

On being asked about the criticism of England’s rotation policy, the wicket keeper said that it is a narrow minded stuff to criticize such a good policy. He said that the rotation policy is good for the players as well as for the team management. Due to this policy, the players get proper rest which helps them to maintain their fitness. At the same time, the team management can test the bench strength of the team and see how the reserved players are doing.

Kieswetter said that the fans always want to see their favourite players performing on the cricket field. But, due to such a hectic schedule, it is literally impossible for anyone to play each and every game. So, Andy Flower is doing well by rotating the players and giving them proper rest.

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