India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his teammates, except for off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, had a rigorous practice session at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Monday amidst tight security ahead of the first Test against England.
Sachin Tendulkar and Ishant Sharma were slightly late in joining their teammates for the 150-minute practice session that started at 2 pm.
The players first had light exercises, including running a lap around the boundary, before hitting the nets.
S Badrinath and M Vijay were the first to pad up, followed by Rahul Dravid, Dhoni, Tendulkar and VVS. Laxman.
Dhoni was behind the stumps while Laxman got batting practice with a soft ball thrown at him by coach Gary Kirsten.
The security forces had sanitised the entire venue. Armed to the teeth, they guarded the perimeter of the field and kept away the horde of media persons. The only official interaction with the media is scheduled for Wednesday when the rival captains would field questions in a controlled environment.
Movement in the stadium will be regulated and applications for media accreditation have gone through the Police Commissioner before approval.
Tickets for the match went on sale on Monday, but officials said it was too early to gauge public response.
Perhaps calming the nerves is the weather that, by Chennai standards, is extremely pleasant with the skies overcast, but there is no threat of immediate rain.