Raina century lifts struggling India’s spirits


Suresh Raina lifted struggling India’s spirits with an unbeaten 103 against Somerset as the tourists finally showed signs of life ahead of their Test clash with England. The Indians had been completely out-played by Somerset on the first two days of this three-day warm-up match and started Sunday’s play on 138-8 after allowing the hosts to amass 425-3 declared in their first innings. India’s battling line-up had been demolished by South African left-arm seamer Charl Willoughby, who took 5-50 on Saturday as the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid failed to deliver. Willoughby quickly claimed his sixth wicket as he bowled Sreesanth, but Raina, who began the day on 30, cut loose after that to restore some pride for the tourists. The 24-year-old added 84 for the final wicket in an explosive 12-over partnership with Munaf Patel, who contributed just six as Raina hit 15 fours and five sixes to reach 103 in 112 balls. Raina’s innings underlined his case to start against England at Lord’s in the first Test on Thursday and he may have caused even more carnage if Patel had not fallen lbw to legspinner Max Waller with the score on 224. India’s bowling attack had struggled to adapt to English conditions on the flat Taunton track in the first innings and it was more of the same as Somerset opted against enforcing the follow-on. Zaheer Khan and Tendulkar did not take the field, but Indian officials played down any injury fears by insisting the duo were were just resting.