Late wickets give England a much-needed boost on second day
England's bowlers toiled on day two against Mumbai A, claiming just four wickets as their opponents closed on 232-4.
Last Updated: 05/11/12 10:48am
After declaring their first innings on 345-9, the tourists started brightly with the ball when Graham Onions had opener Bhavin Thakkar caught behind by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow for five.
However that was their only success before lunch, while they had to turn to an unlikely source to take their solitary wicket in the afternoon session at the Dr DY Patil Sports Stadium.
Opening batsman Joe Root showed off his all-round capabilities in the fight for a Test berth by getting Shikkar Dhawan (27) caught at first slip by James Anderson, leaving the score at 47-2.
From then on, though, England got the chance to have a good look at Cheteshwar Pujara, a strong candidate to bat at No.3 in India's order in the upcoming Test series between the two nations.
Pujara batted for almost four-and-a-half hours to make 87, putting on a third-wicket partnership of 163 with Hiken Shah that saw the duo muster 67 runs in between lunch and tea.
Stand-in skipper Stuart Broad opted to use his seamers in short bursts in tough conditions and it was no surprise to see Monty Panesar finally break the alliance, the left-arm spinner turning one sharply from a perfect length to get Pujara caught at slip by Anderson.
The same fielder could well have dismissed the batsman when he had just 22 to his name, but was unable to hang onto a sharp chance off the same bowler.
There was a further boost for England at the end of a tough day when Anderson himself struck to bring about the close of play, the Lancashire seamer getting Suryakumar Yadav to feather an edge through to Bairstow.
Shah was unbeaten on 84 as Mumbai finished up trailing by 113 runs heading into the final day of England's penultimate outing before the opening Test in Ahmedabad.
England had batted on for around 30 minutes at the start of Sunday's play, adding just seven runs in the same number of overs before Broad decided to pull the plug early.
The captain himself failed to add to his overnight tally of six before falling lbw when playing across the line to Shardul Thakur, while from the very next ball Samit Patel became Kshemal Waingankar's third victim when he nicked an outswinger to depart for 60.
Shardul Thakur also finished with three victims, albeit with Onions mystified to be given out caught-behind after apparently being completely beaten by one that swung back into him and kept low.