Taunton, Jul 16: If anybody expected India to crush Somerset on the first day of the tour game at the County Ground Taunton, then they were in for bitter disappointment as the seamers failed to exert any pressure on the County Side. The seam attack comprising of Zaheer Khan, S Sreesanth and Munaf Patel appeared lacklustre to say the least while England skipper Andrew Strauss, who was playing for Somerset, seized some psychological advantage by scoring some much needed runs.
As Somerset Won the toss and decided to bat first, many were eager to find out how the series would shape by getting an early glimpse of the much vaunted Zaheer versus Strauss contest. Strauss, who in his last few matches has been at sea against left-arm seamers was expected to be a sitting duck for Zaheer Khan. Instead the England Skipper played a flambuoyant innings of 78 from 98 balls laced with 16 hits to the fence. He was eventually dismissed by Amit Mishra.
But that was the beginning of another agonising partnership for the Indians as AV Suppiah and NRD Compton put on a second wicket partnership of 223 runs for Somerset. Suppiah, the Malaysian born batsman was impressive to say the least as he played the Indian bowlers with contemptuous ease and ensured that they do not go into the first Test at Lords with any psychological advantage. By the end of the first day's play he was unbeaten on 145 from 218 balls and had C R Jones for company.
Compton, who was dismissed for 88 by Suresh Raina was equally impressive and during his 136-ball stay hit 10 boundaries to pile on the misery on the Indian bowlers.
Among the Indian bowlers, Sreesanth and Zaheer Khan looked rusty and Munaf Patel, though bowled well but failed to make his case for inclusion in the line-up in the first Test.
Earlier India decided to rest M S Dhoni, VVS Laxman, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar for the Somerset game and included Wridhiman Saha, Yuvraj Singh, Amit Mishra, Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth in their places.
The first Test between India and England starts on the 21st of July at the Lords and will be the 100th Test between the two sides and 2000th overall.