22nd February 2017

Brookes 60* helps England to 375

England Under-19s, second day of second “Test” v India Under-19s, Nagpur

England 375 (Rawlins 140, Jacks 77, Brookes 60no), India 153-3

Henry Brookes admitted his first overseas tour is approaching fantasy land after adding an unlikely batting triumph to a string of impressive bowling performances for England Under-19s in India.

Brookes, a seamer from Solihull who only joined Warwickshire’s Academy last year, was a late inclusion in the England squad, but has been an ever-present throughout the five-match one-day series in Mumbai and now the two “Tests” in Nagpur.

That has been for the consistency and intelligence of his bowling, but on the second day of the second four-day game, he showed his batting ability by making an unbeaten 60 to cause huge frustration to the India team.

"I’ve treated everything out here as a new challenge, because it’s my first tour away, and I’ve enjoyed every moment. Bowling-wise we’ve all been working hard with Jon Lewis on bowling to a plan, and it seems to have been working ok."

Henry Brookes

England were 270 for eight when he joined his new-ball partner Aaron Beard of Essex – a good recovery after losing three wickets for one run in the first eight balls of their innings, thanks to 140 from Delray Rawlins and 77 from Will Jacks. But still a long way short of a formidable total on another flat Nagpur pitch.

But Brookes and Beard put on 51 in 18 overs, and even after the Essex man’s dismissal, Brookes found another determined ally in no 11 Dan Houghton – the Lancastrian who has been thrust straight into the team for his international debut after being plucked from the Red Rose Academy in Mumbai last week.

Houghton made 12 from 49 balls in a last wicket stand of 45 which lifted England’s total to 375 – leaving Brookes unbeaten on 60 from 102 balls, with nine fours.

“I’ve made 90s for Warwickshire’s under-17s but I haven’t scored as many as this in club cricket or anything like that, so it’s a nice achievement to do it out here,” he said.

“I’m a seamer that can bat – I wouldn’t describe myself as an all-rounder. Not yet, anyway. But it was good to bat with Beardo because we get on well. And then Dan Houghton did a great job. He’s a newcomer to the side, but he’s settled straight in.

“I’ve treated everything out here as a new challenge, because it’s my first tour away, and I’ve enjoyed every moment. Bowling-wise we’ve all been working hard with Jon Lewis on bowling to a plan, and it seems to have been working ok.”

Brookes had a rare wicketless day when India launched their reply on the second afternoon – some time after they would have been expecting when wickets tumbled on the first morning.

But Beard, who had produced his best performance of the tour as England pressed for a win in the first four-day game in Nagpur, earned the eye-catching figures of one for 20 from 10 overs, dismissing India’s opener Abhishek Goshwami for 58.

And there was one wicket each for the spinners Liam Patterson-White and Euan Woods, meaning India will resume on 153 for three.

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