Indians 311 (Rahul 111, Jadeja 75, Miles 4-45) lead County Select XI 220 (Hameed 112, Yadav 3-22, Siraj 2-32) by 91 runs at the close of Day 2
Day 2 of the first-class game being played between the County Select XI and the Indian team turned out to be the perfect appetiser before the England match up. The county batsmen put up tough resistance to the seemingly lethal Indian bowling attack, forcing India to field through an entire day’s play. The pacers Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj took 3-22 and 2-32 respectively and the other seamers Jasprit Bumrah and Shardul Thakur too were penetrative throughout the day.
Haseeb Hameed, who is now part of the recently announced English squad exhibited brilliant batting for his 112 off 246 balls, making more than half of the runs scored while demonstrating how to persist in front of a good bowling unit.
County Select XI’s reply to India’s first innings
After India posted a total of 311, Hameed and Libby opened the batting for the County Select XI with good defensive technique against the Indian opening bowlers Jasprit and Umesh. The bowlers right away seemed on the money, attacking with their line and lengths and giving away nothing easy.
As pressure built on, Libby who was looking good for his 12 off 24 inside-edged the ball onto the stumps during the 9th over to Umesh’s bowling. The next two wickets, Yates and Washington Sundar fell in a matter of 5 overs, rather easily and it seemed like India would pierce through the team in no time.
Will Rhodes, the Warwickshire player who is captaining the County Select XI, came in at 29/3 during a difficult passage of play. Reading the situation, Rhodes alongside Haseeb, were able to bat defensively till lunch for no further loss of wickets. Post which, the captain was dismissed by a lovely piece of bowling from Umesh Yadav, who got the ball to nip back in, after a series of out swingers, going on to hit the top of the stumps.
The 5th wicket partnership between James and Hasseb was a rather frustrating one for the Indians, the pair played together to score 75 runs in just under 26 overs. Lydon James who looked streaky on the crease, came into his own as the overs rolled along and provided stubborn resistance for his 27 off 83 balls.
By Tea, the County team had settled in and recovered to 113/4. Out of the batsmen to follow, Patterson White by far looked the most impressive, with good shot selection against spin and a solid defence to balls pitched at a good length. As the day came to an end, the Indian team was buzzing with energy and intent to get the opposition rolled over before stumps. Positive batting from Patterson and attacking short pitched bowling from the Indians was an entertaining battle to end the day’s play.
Indian seam bowling looked impressive
Umesh Yadav was the pick of the bowlers for his 3/22 with 7 maidens and an economy of 1.44. The weather forecast according to the UK Met Department suggest heat wave to persist up to mid-August in England. This would mean that the pitches would be dry ion the first few Tests which would favour Umesh’s style of bowling, relying more on pace rather than the conditions. He got to move the ball away considerably yesterday and if he maintains good rhythm, he may come in handy during the Tests with his sheer pace.
Bumrah, Siraj and Thakur had a good day’s outing today, being asked to bowl around 15 overs each. Bumrah although short of wickets in his 1/29, seemed threating at all times while Siraj bowled with intent and feistiness through his 13-over spell finishing at 2/32.
Match Practice at its best
Although the Indian team is playing this game as a practice match, the game itself was rich with sub-battles and tactics. The Indian team, seemed proactive on the field, changing plans according to game situations, being sharp on the field and to the credit of the County Select XI, the visitors were asked to do hard yards to prove their money’s worth.
In the meanwhile, Virat Kohli and Ishant Sharma were seen practicing in the nets with Head Coach Ravi Shastri keeping an eye on them. Virat has been rested from this game due to a stiffed back but it is a good sign for the team that he is back to practicing to shape up well for the Tests. Ishant had suffered an injury on the last day of the WTC Final against New Zealand. The team management also needs to look after Ajinkya Rahane who is down with a swollen hamstring.
With the Test matches due to start after two weeks, one would think that there is enough time for the seasoned professionals to get back to match fitness. The first Test between India and England starts on August 4 at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.