Patel sets sights on a Test place as Pietersen fizzes on comeback

ENGLAND all-rounder Samit Patel believes he has boosted his chances of nailing down a Test place after his 82 not out helped the tourists wrest back the initiative in their warm-up match against India A yesterday.

Patel’s unbroken partnership of 153 with captain Alastair Cook, who made 112 not out, ensured England will go into the final day of play in Mumbai on 286-4 and served as a timely reminder of his talents ahead of the four-Test series later this month.

Returning batsman Kevin Pietersen, taking the crease in England colours for the first time since being dropped over his infamous text messaging, fizzed in a 23-run cameo, but it was the discipline of Cook, Jonathan Trott (53) and Patel that proved most valuable.

“It’s great to get a good start in the first game and a good score,” said Patel, who has made just two Test appearances. “But there’s still a lot of work do do and two [warm-up] games left, so I haven’t got that position yet. I’m getting better, and the more games I play the better I’ll be.”

Paceman James Anderson’s first-ball dismissal of Vinay Kumar abruptly restricted the hosts to 369 and gave England maximum opportunity for batting practice, which Cook, preparing for a tricky first series as permanent skipper, grasped.

Pietersen smashed a six and three fours before being caught and bowled by verbal sparring partner Yuvraj Singh (2-52) – a man he once derided as a “pie-chucker”. Newcomer Nick Compton was out for a duck while Ian Bell made just five before edging Yuvraj to slip.