Taunton (Somerset): England captain Andrew Strauss found his form back with a stroke-filled 79 as Indian bowlers struggled in the first session of their warm-up game against Somerset at Taunton in England on Friday.

At lunch, Somerset were 107 for the loss of Strauss' wicket for 78 off 98 balls.

Strauss, making a guest appearance for Somerset, won his much-anticipated first-round battle against left-arm swing bowler Zaheer Khan, who bowled eight overs without success on the first morning.

The left-hander rarely looked in trouble on a featherbed, smashing 16 fours during his 112 minutes' stay at the crease.

Strauss had a couple of close calls though - when on 20 he was lucky to survive a LBW shout against Zaheer - and then wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha dropped him off leg-spinner Amit Mishra on 64.

The attacking batsman, with a history of being troubled by left-arm medium-pacers, and with just 27 runs from three Tests in the preceding series against Sri Lanka, was in his elements from the word go, hitting Zaheer for two fours.

He followed them up with a couple of pushes down the ground for boundaries and nearly always got value for his shots against the tourists who appeared to have lost interest after a while.

Strauss shifted gears after the first hour and smashed an erratic S Sreesanth for three fours after the medium-pacer switched his ends.

Two long-hops from the Kerala speedster were hit behind square for boundaries and one was guided off his pads to fine leg fence as Strauss reached his half-century with 11 fours from 63 balls.

Munaf Patel's propensity to bowl at least one bouncer per over wasn't such a good idea on this dead track and Strauss made full use of such deliveries.

Somerset won the toss and elected to bat against India in a three-day practice match at Taunton in England on Friday.

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni preferred to sit out of the game and in his absence Gautam Gambhir is leading the side.

Another notable absentee is VVS Laxman, but pace spearhead Zaheeer Khan is playing and his clash with Andrew Strauss is eagerly anticipated.

The India-England Test series starts July 21 at Lord's.

Teams:

Indians: Gautam Gambhir (c), Abhinav Mukund, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Wriddhiman Saha, Zaheer Khan, Amit Mishra, S Sreesanth, Munaf Patel

Somerset: Andrew Strauss, AV Suppiah, NRD Compton, CR Jones, JC Hildreth, JC Buttler†, PD Trego, CAJ Meschede, AC Thomas, MTC Waller, CM Willoughby.

(Agencies)