England continue to toil

Free Press Series: Tim Bresnan, pictured, took the wicket of Haryana's Sandeep Singh in England's final warm-up match Tim Bresnan, pictured, took the wicket of Haryana's Sandeep Singh in England's final warm-up match

Centurion Rahul Dewan continued to defy England on the third morning of their final warm-up match against Haryana at the Sardar Patel Stadium B Ground.

Tim Bresnan again got more than most out of an ultra-placid pitch, but even he could not shift the accomplished opener as England's hosts moved from 172 for four to 255 for seven in reply to 521 all out.

Bresnan (three for 66) impressed as England's most likely wicket-taker on Friday, and got them under way again when he had Sandeep Singh pushing tentatively forward and edging low to Alastair Cook at slip.

Cook was in the firing line three more times. But the ball evaded his grasp when Amit Mishra twice edged past slip and Dewan, on 87, did likewise off Jonathan Trott - a rare false shot in a compact and controlled innings.

Mishra was gone relatively soon anyway, turned round by Stuart Meaker and caught behind to give the Surrey seamer his first first-class wicket for England.

But Dewan (109no) remained to complete his sixth first-class hundred in just over five-and-a-half hours.

He did so with a cut for his 14th four - from the 236th ball he faced - earning the polite applause of the bowler, Monty Panesar, in acknowledgment.

Meaker doubled up, however, when he got through Jayant Yadav's defences and knocked over off stump and would have had a third wicket had Matt Prior - back on duty after Friday's stomach upset - managed to hold a diving catch down the leg side to see off Amit Vashisht for just four.

England took the second new ball, and gave it to Bresnan and Graham Onions, but could not get past Dewan or the tail.

They could still hope to bowl their hosts out in time to make the follow-on an option, but were probably unlikely to enforce it - having already bowled 89 overs under cloudless skies and in stamina-sapping temperatures.

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