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India in tatters at 138/8 against Somerset

Taunton: India witnessed the worst possible build-up to the first cricket Test against England after Somerset reduced the visitors to an embarrassing 138 for eight in their first innings on the rain-marred second day of the three-day practice game here today.

Replying to Somerset`s 425 for three declared, the famed Indian batting line-up, including star batsman Sachin Tendulkar, failed miserably on a featherbed wicket to trail Somerset by 287 runs with just two wickets and full days play in hand.

Standing at the slip cordon, England skipper Andrew Strauss, who made 78, would have been delighted to watch from close quarters the annihilation of India`s batting stars, many of whom were returning to cricket after a seven-week hiatus.

Left-arm pacer Charl Willoughby, who once played two Tests for South Africa in early 2000, ripped apart the Indian top-order with figures of five for 50 to give Somerset upperhand in the warm-up game ahead of the first Test, starting July 21 at Lord`s.

If Willoughby accounted for the top four Indian batsmen, it was 19-year-old Craig Meschede who got the prized wicket of Tendulkar, which was also his maiden first class scalp.

Openers Gautam Gambhir (21) and Abhinav Mukund (18) failed to give a decent start to India as they departed by the first 10 overs at the team score of 51 for 2.

Gambhir flashed at a wild delivery of Willoughby to hand over a catch to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, while Mukund departed just after tea to a leg before wicket shout of the same bowler.

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