Final chance for India to settle Test combination
Ahead of the four-Test series against the West Indies, India will have a final chance to work on their shortcomings when the Virat Kohli-led visitors take on WICB President’s XI in a three-day warm-up tie from Thursday.
India were far from impressive in their last two-day warm-up game with Kohli and star batsmen failing to get a decent start while the pace battery struggled with their inconsistent show. Leg-spinner Amit Mishra with his four wickets was the lone highlight along with Rohit Sharma’s unbeaten half century.
As Kohli along with head coach Anil Kumble sits to decide on the playing XI for the first Test, starting at Antigua on July 21, the players will be aiming for a decent outing in the three-day fixure.
In the batting department, the top-order looked solid after having spent enough time in the middle with openers Lokesh Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan scoring fifties.
Dhawan, whose performance in whites came under the scanner, presented his case with a 90-ball 51 while Rahul also scored 50 off 99 balls which makes the competition stiff with Murali Vijay almost a certainty in the line-up.
No.3 Cheteshwar Pujara scored 34 off 102 balls before retiring out, while Rohit’s unbeaten 54 off 109 balls came good.
Stumper Wriddhiman Saha also got some runs but Kohli (14) and Rahane (5) missed out and the duo will be eyeing Thursday’s encounter to spend some time in the middle.
Kohli will be hoping for an improved show from his pacers — Mohammed Shami, who is returning to competitive cricket after a long injury lay-off, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, veteran Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav.
While everyone except Shami was amongst the wickets, none of the India pacers posed any serious threat to the hosts.
It will also be interesting to see if Kohli asks Mumbai rookie Shardul Thakur to bowl a few in the middle.
With the pitch giving assistance for the slower bowlers, leggie Mishra, who narrowly missed out on a hattrick, grabbed the opportunity with both hands with a four-for-67 with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja warming the bench.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Stuart Binny
WICB President’s XI : Leon Johnson (capt), Jermaine Blackwood, Rajendra Chandrika, Roston Chase, Jason Dawes, Shane Dowrich, Shai Hope, Damion Jacobs, Keon Joseph, Marquino Mindley, Vishaul Singh, Jomel Warrican