AHMEDABAD (India), Nov 8: Kevin Pietersen smashed an aggressive century on Thursday as England showed off their batting prowess ahead of next week’s Test series against India. Pietersen hit 110 off 94 balls as the tourists feasted on Haryana’s weak bowling attack to pile up a massive 408-3 on the opening day of the four-day match here.The South African-born star warmed up for the first Test in the same city from Nov 15 with 16 boundaries and three sixes before retiring to give other players an outing at the crease.

Pietersen was a last-minute addition to the tour squad after making peace with the England management over a text message row that forced his exile from the team in August.

Skipper Alastair Cook followed his 119 in the tour opener in Mumbai with 97, putting on 166 for the first wicket with Nick Compton.

Compton, grandson of former England batsman Denis Compton, almost certainly ensured himself a Test debut in Ahmedabad with a bright knock of 74 that was studded with nine fours and a six.

Ian Bell chipped in with an unbeaten 57 to end a profitable day for the tourists, who are aiming to win their first Test series in India since 1985.

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra, the only international in Haryana’s team, finished with two for 50 from 11 overs.

England took the field without injured pace bowlers Stuart Broad and Steven Finn, and frontline spinner Graeme Swann, who flew home on Wednesday to attend to his sick baby daughter.

Finn suffered a thigh strain in the tour opener and Broad bruised his left heel in the second practice match, but scans did not reveal any serious injury for either player.

Both Swann and Broad are expected to feature in the first Test, but Finn remains a doubtful starter.

Paceman Stuart Meaker, who was flown in as a precautionary stand-by, was picked for the Haryana game alongside seamers Graham Onions and Tim Bresnan.

Summarised scores:

ENGLAND 408-3 (Kevin Pietersen 110 retired out, Alastair Cook 97, Nick Compton 74, Ian Bell 57 not out; Amit Mishra 2-50) v HARYANA.—AFP

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