Batsmen prosper on rainy second day

India’s bowlers continued to find it hard going yesterday at Taunton as Somerset amassed 425 for 3 before declaring shortly before their allotted 100-over first innings was completed.

Gautam Gambhir, returning to action after missing the West Indies tour, then fell for 21 as India reached 40 for 1 at tea.

Heavy rain followed by frequent showers delayed the start until mid-afternoon and the visitors only managed to add one further scalp as Arul Suppiah was removed for a career-best 156. Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth were both given another bowl, the former to try to find rhythm ahead of the Test and the latter to try and force his way into contention.

It was Sreesanth who broke through when Suppiah, having passed his previous best of 151, edged to first slip where Rahul Dravid held a low catch.

However, India’s intensity was well down and they were happy to wait for Somerset’s declaration. Amit Mishra, back on the field after taking a blow on the finger yesterday, continued to have trouble with no-balls, taking his tally to 12 for the innings, while there was some friendly part-rime spin served up by Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh.

Chris Jones, a 20-year-old batsman starting to force his way into the Somerset first team, took advantage to register a confident half-century from 69 balls and James Hildreth, the England Lions captain, eased his way to 30 off 28 balls include a huge six over long on off Mishra.

India began their innings in a hurry with 13 runs coming off Charl Willoughby’s opening over and Gambhir, who has recovered from a shoulder injury, slotted five confident boundaries before chasing a wide delivery he could barely reach and edging to the wicketkeeper.

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