Suresh Raina defends team selection


India A skipper Suresh Raina today defended the composition of his team which has no front-line spinner, saying he and Yuvraj Singh bowled well against England in the warm-up game, here.

"We bowled really well, (Ashok) Dinda, myself and Yuvraj (Singh). Me and Yuvraj bowled 40 overs and got two and one wickets. Manoj Tiwary also bowled well," said Raina.

England rode on captain Alastair Cook's unbeaten 112 and half centuries by Jonathan Trott and Samit Patel to make 286 for 4 in reply to India A's 369 in their first innings.

Raina sent back Trott with his off-break while Yuvraj, also a part-time bowler, picked up the wickets of key England batsmen Kevin Pietersen (23) and Ian Bell (5), having made a fine 59 yesterday.

However, Cook and Patel (82 not out) strung a crucial, unfinished stand of 153 for the fifth wicket to stem the rot.

Though Raina and Yuvraj bowled only 16 overs each, the tally bowled by part-timers rose to 38 with Manoj Tiwary and Murali Vijay sending down four and two overs respectively.

Raina, who is fighting for the number six slot in the Test team with Yuvraj, also praised Cook's effort and said the left-handed opening batsman seemed to be on a roll.

"He (Cook) is looking solid. He will definitely score a lot of runs this season. He has been batting really well since last two, two-and-a-half years. I wish him luck. Hopefully, he will not do well against India," he said.

About Pietersen being dismissed once again by Yuvraj, whose bowling the South African-born player has described as 'pie-chucking', Raina said the two flamboyant players had a good laugh at the end of the day.

"He has had a few successes against KP. He was very happy (with the dismissal). They both had a laugh later," said Raina.

He felt England players had enough experience of Indian wickets to counter the spin threat.

"All England players know to play spin because of IPL."

About the ICC decision on introducing day/night Test matches, Raina said it would be difficult to do it in India because of the weather in winter (dew factor) and fog.

England all rounder Patel said his innings cannot as yet be said to have guaranteed him a spot in the November 15-19 first Test team at Ahmedabad.

"There are a few more practice games to go and a lot of work left to do," said the 27-year-old batsman who bowls left-arm spin.

He said the key was to play more to get used to the conditions."The more I play, the confidence will go up. It's about trying to adapt quickly to the conditions in India, both with the bat and ball."

The Indian-origin player also praised his captain Cook for his sheet-anchoring innings.

"He was just brilliant. To bat all day is a great effort," said Patel.

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