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Patel stakes Test claim with ton
Samit Patel cemented his claims to a Test return by completing his maiden England century against India A at the Brabourne Stadium on Thursday morning.
As this first tour match moved towards a near inevitable draw by lunch on the final day, England's priorities were exclusively to ensure best preparation for the four-match Test series ahead.
Patel (104) for one will move forward with confidence and hopes high, as will Yuvraj Singh - who took his wicket tally to four, after snaring his old adversary Kevin Pietersen on Wednesday, as England reached 396 for eight in reply to 369 all out.
Yuvraj, continuing his comeback to the world game after his recovery from lung cancer, added the wickets of Matt Prior (51) and then Patel himself o Wednesday on the way to figures of four wickets for 74 runs.
Much was made of the home selectors' decision to pick no specialist spinner for this match, thus depriving England of the opportunity to attune themselves to the challenge which will await them courtesy of R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha in the Tests.
But part-timers Yuvraj and Suresh Raina - both better-known as batsmen - nonetheless shared England wickets in an innings underpinned by a stand of 169 between captain Alastair Cook (119) and Patel.
That fifth-wicket partnership finally ended this morning when the captain succumbed at last, caught behind pushing forward at Ashok Dinda. Cook batted for almost six-and-a-half hours, faced 269 balls and hit 14 fours.
Patel was joined by a typically fluent Prior, who produced a series of trademark cuts on his way to a run-a-ball half-century before edging an attempted drive at Yuvraj to Raina at slip.
Patel fell in the same over, nowhere near the pitch but going through with an attempted drive nonetheless and simply chipping a catch to cover.
Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann therefore had a handy chance for some batting practice, until the latter was yorked by R Vinay Kumar.