Shah shines for England

As rival Strauss fails in Dunedin

Last Updated: 25/02/08 12:00pm

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Shah: Solid 96

Shah: Solid 96

Sky Bet

Owais Shah pushed his claims for a slot in England's side for the first Test against New Zealand next week as he made 96 on the first day of the warm-up match against an Invitational XI in Dunedin.

The tourists had reached 369-9 by the close of play on day one of the two-day contest, with Alastair Cook contributing 85 and Ian Bell 75 not out.

However, it was a rather less fruitful day for Andrew Strauss - seemingly Shah's main rival for the remaining spot in England's top order - as he fell for just four after contriving to hit his own wicket.

The Middlesex left-hander opened with Cook but struggled for any sort of rhythm before eventually falling in bizarre circumstances as he hit his wicket when attempting to prevent the ball rolling back on to his stumps following a defensive shot.

Skipper Michael Vaughan chipped in with a flowing 27 before edging behind off left-arm seamer Jordan Sheed and his dismissal brought Shah to the crease.

The 29-year-old had a couple of slices of fortune during his innings as he survived what appeared a very strong appeal for caught behind when on 28 ahead of the lunch interval, before being dropped at mid-on on 38 off the bowling of Mark Gillespie.

Shah eventually fell just four runs short of his century, superbly caught at short fine-leg after top-edging a delivery from off-spinner Will Somerville.

Bell made 59 before retiring hurt, but returned to add a further 16 with last-man Monty Panesar to ensure England did not have to take the field before the close.

Cook looked in fine form as he hit no fewer than 17 boundaries in his 81-ball knock but perished 15 short of a deserved ton as he offered up an opportunity that Sam Wells accepted off his own bowling.

Graeme Swann had earlier made 32, but wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose - playing his first innings of the tour - failed in his bid to score runs to secure the Test spot behind the stumps and fell for two as rival Phil Mustard edged behind for 10.

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