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From the Archive: England's Captain joins Somerset for a three-day Indian Summer

In the summer of 2011 England were preparing for a home Test Series against India. However, the captain was struggling for form.

Andrew Strauss had made just 27 runs in four innings and Middlesex had no County Championship match scheduled in the three weeks prior to the first Test. How was England’s skipper going to get time out in the middle in the build up to the Indian series?

The answer was to look at the fixture list as he told the BBC at the time. “Andy Flower and I saw that Somerset had a tour match against India and we decided to approach them,” he said. “We are very grateful to Somerset for giving me the opportunity to play some cricket before the first Test match and hopefully I can spend a bit of time with their young cricketers at the same time.”

So it was that the England Test Captain wore the Wyvern for the three-day tourist match against India at the Cooper Associates County Ground in July 2011.

Both teams named strong sides and Somerset skipper Alfonso Thomas elected to bat after winning the toss.

Strauss was joined at the crease by Arul Suppiah and the pair put on an impressive 101 for the opening wicket. The England Captain was the man to go when he was caught behind from the bowling of Amit Mishra for 78. Nick Compton made 88 as he and Suppiah took the score to 324. Suppiah went on to make a superb 156 before falling to Shanthakumaran Sreesanth at 365 for three whilst Chris Jones (51 not out) and James Hildreth (30 not out) ensured that the hosts had reached 425 for three when the declaration came.

The Indian reply got off to a bad start and Charl Willoughby accounted for Gautam Gambhir, Abhinav Mukund, the prize wicket of Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh to leave the tourists on 75 for four.

Craig Meschede took the major scalp of Sachin Tendulkar as wickets continued to fall and India reached 89 for five. Suresh Raina was the only batsman to offer any resistance and despite him making an unbeaten 103 India were all out for 224. Willoughby was the pick of the bowlers and took six for 76.

Somerset elected not to enforce the follow-on and batting for a second time the openers once again shared a stand in excess of 100. Suppiah was the man out for 45 with the score on 131. James Hildreth fell without scoring but Strauss passed the century mark to finish on 109 not out as he and Peter Trego (85 not out) ensured that Somerset reached 260 for two when the second declaration came.

India had reached 69 without loss in their second innings when the game finished in a rain effected draw but the Somerset supporters had been treated to some superb batting from England’s captain as well as from their own players. They also got to see some of the games finest ever players take to the field at Taunton over the course of the three days.

Did the experiment work? Well, England went on to win the Test series 4-0 and Strauss scored 229 runs in six innings with a high score of 87.

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