England's Andrew Strauss hits form ahead of India Test

Tour match, Taunton (day one of three):
Somerset 329-2 v India
Match scorecard
Andrew Strauss
Strauss scored a morale-boosting 78 ahead of next week's first Test

England Test captain Andrew Strauss's decision to play for Somerset against India paid dividends as he scored 78 on day one of their tour game at Taunton.

Strauss made just 27 in his last three innings against Sri Lanka and is playing because of his own county Middlesex's lack of first-class games.

And he scored 16 boundaries in his 98-ball knock before being caught behind.

Arul Suppiah (145 not out) and Nick Compton (88) were also in the runs as Somerset finished on 329-2.

The innings is a timely boost for Strauss ahead of Thursday's first Test at Lord's.

Particular concerns had been raised over his batting against left-arm seamers after he fell to Chanaka Welagedera three times in the Sri Lanka series, but he showed little signs of trouble against Zaheer Khan as he dominated an opening stand of 101 with Suppiah.

Spinner Amit Mishra eventually dismissed Strauss, but the runs will be invaluable to the skipper as England look to overhaul India and become the world's top-ranked Test team.

"It was an honour to bat with the England captain and he looked in very good nick to me," said Suppiah.

"He was moving his feet really well and striking the ball out of the middle. I'd definitely back him to get runs in the Tests because he left the ball well, hit straight very effectively and looked hungry for a big score."

India, who wrapped up a 1-0 Test series win in the Caribbean last week, left captain Mahendra Dhoni, batsman VVS Laxman and spinner Harbhajan Singh out of their side for the warm-up game.

The trio played in all three Tests against the West Indies and the selectors opted to give them a breather ahead of the series, which starts with the historic 2,000th Test match at Lord's.

England go into the contest on the back of a 1-0 Test series win over Sri Lanka and a 3-2 victory in the one-day internationals.

Tune into BBC Radio 5 live for regular updates from Taunton on India's three-day tour match against Somerset.

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