Team India's last net session on the eve of the first test match against England carried an air of confidence, while at the same the nervousness was palpable. The session didn't last too long, for most batsmen preferred getting the feel rather than spending those extra few minutes to correct a folly. At this hour, it isn't about the skill-set, but more importantly the belief that brought them here.
Gautam went for the last set of throw-downs, Dravid shadow-practiced a few shots one last time, while Mukund spent a few minutes in getting the ducking and swaying away to bouncers right. And then, one by one most batsmen visited the square and inspected the pitch for the impending game.
With Lord's and it's tricky slope, most batsmen would've also made some crucial mental notes including not going back while batting at the Nursery End and also covering their stumps before deciding to let one go to the wicketkeeper. Similarly, they may have also drawn a mental line outside off-stump on the other end too, for the slope would take the ball away from them after pitching.
In the team meeting later, broader plans must have been discussed with the team spening quality time deciphering England's bowling attack and finalizing plans for every batsman. Every individual would have been assigned a specific role to help the cause.
The dressing room
The morning of the match would invariably bring butterflies in the stomach irrespective of the player's stature. The openers would keep a close eye on Dhoni walking out wearing the India blazer with English captain Strauss for the toss. If India is batting first, the dressing room will go quiet to provide enough space and peace for the batsmen.
But if the team is bowling first, the mood would be informal with fast bowlers getting their ankles taped or taking that last minute rub on the back or shoulder.
Half an hour between the toss and the start of play would pass off in a flash. The next thing the boys would know is that they're standing in the middle and waiting for the umpire to call ‘let’s play’.