Patel stakes an early Test claim

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CAPTAIN Alastair Cook took the batting honours with a century but Notts all-rounder Samit Patel put himself in the frame for a Test batting spot on the second day of England’s tour opener against India A.

Cook’s unbeaten 112 was the most substantial contribution and whilst Kevin Pietersen marked his return with a frenetic 23, Patel’s 82 not out was probably the most significant ahead of the First Test in Ahmedabad on November 15.

Cook and Patel shared an unbroken stand of 153 to take England to 286-4 in reply to India A’s 369 in which Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann both took three wickets.

Joe Root sat the game out and the chance to be Cook’s opening partner went to Nick Compton who was out for a duck.

Jonathan Trott, 56, shared a second wicket stand of 95 with Cook before Pietersen’s run-a-ball flurry which ended when he fell, caught and bowled, off the left arm spin of old adversary Yuvraj Singh who has come back after lung cancer.

Ian Bell could make only five and it was left to Cook and Patel to post a score with Patel’s performance pushing his claims to return to the Test team as a batting all-rounder with conditions making his left-arm spin a viable bowling option to Cook in what will be the opener’s first Test as permanent captain.