Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Harmison Gets in on Act in Runs-Fest

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Harmison Gets in on Act in Runs-Fest

Article excerpt

KEVIN Pietersen hit an emphatic hundred on his return to the ranks as England posted 424 for eight on the opening day of their Caribbean tour.

And even Durham fast bowler Steve Harmison got in on the runs-fest, scoring a half-century and dominating the final session before falling in the final over of the day on 58.

Test hopeful Owais Shah also celebrated three figures against a St Kitts & Nevis XI at Warner Park. But it was Pietersen, encouraged to resign the England captaincy earlier this month following the publicising of his rift with former coach Peter Moores, who really stole the show with a brutally creative innings of 103.

The positivity was tempered somewhat, however, by the news that key allrounder Andrew Flintoff has been withdrawn from the contest after experiencing discomfort in his left side.

Although the team management insist it is a precautionary measure, they were making provisions for a scan and considering asking their hosts to field a substitute in the unofficial contest.

There was plenty of opportunity for all the batsmen to cash in on a small ground, aided by Pietersen sacrificing himself immediately after acknowledging his 90-ball hundred.

Having drilled a full toss down the ground for his 13th four - he also struck three sixes - Pietersen walked past a short, wide delivery from leg-spinner Akito Willett under instruction from the dressing room.

Young leg-spinner Willett, son of former West Indies Test player Elquemedo Willett, earned the other scalps in his five-wicket haul, however, causing a pre-lunch wobble with the removal of Ian Bell and Alastair Cook, who shared a second-wicket stand of 96, in consecutive overs.

Bell, under pressure from Shah for the opening Test in Jamaica which starts on February 4, was well held at the second attempt from a drilled return catch while left-hander Cook was conned to drive by a perfectly-pitched leg-spinner which fizzed through the gate. …

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