MUMBAI, Nov 1: Samit Patel hit a century on Thursday to make a strong bid for selection in England’s team for the first Test against India in Ahmedabad from Nov 15.

The stocky all-rounder made 104 to steer the tourists to 426 in their first innings on the final day of the three-day tour opener against India ‘A’ here at the Brabourne Stadium.

The match petered out into a draw as the hosts, trailing by 57 runs on the first innings, scored 124-4 in their second knock by stumps with Ajinkya Rahane making 54.

England’s weakness against the turning ball was exposed when part-time spinner Yuvraj Singh grabbed a five-wicket haul to follow his 59 in the first innings.

Patel, a right-hand batsman who bowls left-arm spin, hit 14 boundaries during his five-hour vigil that could hand him the No 6 Test spot ahead of Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow.

Both Morgan and Bairstow, who were not part of the opening match, are likely to play in the remaining two practice matches ahead of the Ahmedabad Test.

Patel made two Test appearances against Sri Lanka earlier this year, scoring 40 runs and taking three wickets, but was ignored for the subsequent home Tests against the West Indies and South Africa.

Patel, who turns 28 this month, is a regular member of England’s limited-overs squad with 31 one-day and 14 Twenty20 Internationals under his belt.

Pace spearhead James Anderson praised Patel’s effort, saying it capped a good outing for England in the first match of the tour.

“Samit was outstanding, very calm and controlled,” said Anderson. “It will do his confidence a lot of good.

“I think we had a pretty good workout over the three days. We got what we needed to get out of the game. There were two hundreds and a couple of 50s by the batsmen and the bowlers too had a good outing.”

Alastair Cook and Patel added 16 runs to the overnight score of 286-4 when the captain was caught behind off seamer Ashok Dinda for 119.

The pair put on 169 for the fifth wicket after England were struggling at 133-4 midway through the afternoon session on Wednesday.

Patel, who resumed on 82, was content to play second fiddle as Matt Prior hammered 51 of the 65 runs they added for the sixth wicket before both fell to Yuvraj in the same over.

The tourists take on Mumbai ‘A’ in another three-day game from Saturday and then play state side Haryana in a four-day match in Ahmedabad from Nov 8 ahead of the four-Test series.

Final scores: INDIA ‘A’ 369 (Manoj Tiwary 93, Abhinav Mukund 73, Yuvraj Singh 59, Irfan Pathan 46; Tim Bresnan 3-59, Graeme Swann 3-90) and 124-4 (Ajinkya Rahane 54); ENGLAND 426 (Alastair Cook 119, Samit Patel 104, Jonathan Trott 56, Kevin Pietersen 23; Yuvraj Singh 5-94).—AFP


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