India vs England: Umesh Yadav shines, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara flop in warm-up vs Essex
Shikhar Dhawan will always be tested if the ball does a bit and he bagged a pair in the game that ended in a draw after rain during the final session. India were 89/2 in their second innings.cricket Updated: Jul 27, 2018 23:37 IST
The biggest challenge for a sub-continent team touring England is negotiating the new ball. In typical English conditions, in early summer or late, the ball will swing and seam to an extent. The technique of even the best batsmen will be tested.
That is a big reason why international batsmen cherish success in England, though it is not easy to take on the bowling attacks of Australia or South Africa on their home turf either.
India landed in England to warm sunshine, and when they won the Twenty20 series, it was seen as a logistics success as nine players figuring in the shorter formats were also in the Test side.
But India will go into the first Test starting in Edgbaston, Birmingham on Wednesday with concern whether their top-order batsmen will stand scrutiny against the wily James Anderson and Co despite the harsh English summer leading many to predict conditions would be more benign and make it a close series.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan will always be tested if the ball does a bit and he bagged a pair in the three-day warm-up game that ended in a draw after rain during the final session. India were 89/2 in their second innings.
Dhawan was bowled third-ball on Friday afternoon to Matthew Quinn. In the first innings, he fell first ball to seamer Matt Coles early in the game when the pitch had life. But it had flattened out as India’s pacers found, even against the Essex lower order.
Shikhar Dhawan was beaten by a delivery that came in and was beaten by swing the next delivery to be bowled. To add to it, Cheteshwar Pujara’s poor English summer continued.
Under pressure to score more runs per balls faced, Pujara struggled in seaming conditions playing for Yorkshire. In the first innings, he lasted seven balls scoring one run. Though he made a 35-ball 23, he flicked tamely to midwicket to be under pressure.
It will be a tough call for the team management as Ajinkya Rahane, who got to play only in the final Test on the South Africa tour early this year and made 10 against Afghanistan last month, also needs to put in a lot to regain his poise.
KL Rahul, who made a compact half-century in the first innings, though looked in good touch and was 35 not out when the game ended. He was dropped early in the slip after edging Shane Snater.
There was good news in the pace department, which will not have Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah due to injuries.
Umesh Yadav took a step closer to ending his wait to play a Test away from the sub-continent against a major team, delivering another lively spell to finish with four wickets. He bowled Essex stumper James Foster for 42 and had tail-ender Matt Coles caught at second slip by Dhawan for nought before the hosts declared at 359/8 after lunch.
Umesh was the best of India’s five seamers. The 30-year-old was a doughty customer during India’s long home Test run in 2016-17, proving his fitness and ability to stay patient and work batsmen out.
However, he was not used in the South Africa tests, his chances receding after Bumrah’s good debut. Umesh, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and all-rounder Hardik Pandya are the front runners to play.
Umesh’s excellent spell read 18-8-34-4. Ishant Sharma, who has benefitted from playing for Sussex this season, was the next best, removing top-scorer Paul Walter in his fresh spell with the second new ball, finishing with 3/59.
Indian would have heaved a sigh of relief after off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin came on to bowl in the morning. Ashwin had split a nail in his bowling hand at the nets on Thursday morning and didn’t play on Day 2. He bowled five overs.
Brief Scores:India XI 395 all out and 89/2; Essex 345/8 decl (T Westley 57, MS Pepper 68, P Walter 75, Umesh Yadav 4/35, Ishant Sharma 3/54).
First Published: Jul 27, 2018 21:56 IST