Vijay may pip Dhawan in the race to partner Sehwag

  • MVL Manikantan, Hindustan Times, Chennai
  • |
  • Updated: Feb 21, 2013 01:40 IST

After the unseasonal showers over the weekend, the sun was out blazing on Wednesday. It was a sign of the things to come as India arrived to a sultry welcome at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

The team will take on Australia in the first of the four-Test series from Friday.

After a warm-up session and catching practice, the team headed to the side ground for a lengthy nets session. Giving a hint of the opening combination, Murali Vijay joined Virender Sehwag and No 3 bat Cheteshwar Pujara. Vijay, leading the race to replace Gautam Gambhir ahead of Shikhar Dhawan, faced the quicks first and a bespectacled Sehwag tried to get into a rhythm against the spinners.

The flamboyant opener showed his natural instincts and tried to attack from the start.

Ishant Sharma, who is likely to spearhead the pace attack, joined the local net bowlers along with spinners Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin. Ashok Dinda and Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled in the latter half of the session along with Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja.

Pujara batted for some time before heading back to the dressing room while Vijay preferred to face throw-downs after his turn. Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane had their knocks too before the bowlers strapped on their pads. Rahane is a contender for a spot in the side with all-rounder Jadeja.

Sachin at ease
Sachin Tendulkar looked comfortable against the spinners, including Harbhajan. He also faced Bhuvaneshwar and Dinda. However, the momentum was disrupted when he was hit on the pads by a nets bowler. He also preferred to face throw-downs after sweating it out in the nets.

Coach Duncan Fletcher, who is under fire for the team's poor showing, kept a close watch on the proceedings. Known for his one-on-one interactions, he was on the move and had a chat with some of the players.

Fletcher stood behind the nets during Sehwag's practice session and observed the opener, speaking to him at intervals. He also had a chat with Virat Kohli before he got into the nets. Finally, Fletcher had a prolonged discussion with Tendulkar after he was done with practice.


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