Fitness concerns over Finn

STEVEN FINN

STEVEN FINN

First published in International

Steven Finn gave England significant cause for concern as he limped out of the attack with a thigh injury on an awkward first day of their India tour.

Finn, a key component in England's likely Test line-up here, will play no further part today and is expected to have a scan to try to identify the source of discomfort in his right leg.

The 6ft 7in seamer aborted the second over of his second spell and had to be replaced by medium-pacer Jonathan Trott.

Alastair Cook's initial experience on his first tour as permanent Test captain was therefore a vexing one as Abhinav Mukund (73) and Yuvraj Singh (59) helped India A to a teatime 224 for six in this three-day match at the Brabourne Stadium.

Mukund was the dominant, but far from always convincing, force throughout the morning session - making 41 of the first 50 runs and numbering 12 fours in his 57-ball half-century after the hosts won the toss.

The majority of his early boundaries came off the edge, but the left-handed opener grew in confidence as England's troubles gathered.

Tim Bresnan had a hand in the first two wickets.

First, replacing Finn after his three overs with the new ball, the Yorkshireman was alert, agile and accurate enough - with an under-armed direct-hit - to run out Murali Vijay after Mukund called his partner through for a sharp single dropped into the leg-side.

Bresnan stuck to his task on a pitch of decent pace as James Anderson took a breather and then Finn went off, and was repaid when he found alarming extra bounce from barely short of a length to have Ajinkya Rahane edging a simple catch off the shoulder of the bat to gully.

Kevin Pietersen, back in an England team for the first time since his summer of discontent and subsequent 'reintegration', did the necessary with a simple catch.

It took another seven minutes, however, for Rahane's dismissal to be confirmed as the umpires - in accordance with new International Cricket Council protocol - ordered what proved to be a laborious check to rule out a no-ball.

Once under way again, Bresnan would have had two wickets in two balls had Samit Patel managed to hold on to a sharp, low catch at midwicket.

Instead, Yuvraj escaped the indignity of a golden duck as he continues his comeback following his recovery from lung cancer - and he went on to punish Patel with two fours and a six over long-on when the all-rounder came on for his first over of left-arm spin.

On the stroke of lunch, England at last had something to smile about when Mukund fell to a smart catch at short-leg by Ian Bell off Graeme Swann to end a near run-a-ball stand of 56.

Yuvraj stayed on the attack, milking the spinners in particular as he hit seven fours in his 50 and brought up the milestone with his third six - straight off Swann.

By then, captain Suresh Raina was gone to another Bell catch at short-leg - this time off Patel - and then Yuvraj was stumped off Swann as he went in search of a fifth maximum.

Anderson returned to deceive Wriddiman Saha with reverse-swing, playing no shot to go lbw, but the hosts were still comfortably past 200 by tea.

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