While a practice match with Essex will precede the Test in Birmingham, the cricketers made full use of the recess on the ground that is expected to help batsmen in due course
After the loss of One Day International series, Team India is gearing up for the Test series. Their exercise will start with a three-day practice game on Wednesday on the Essex Cricket County ground.
Earlier, it was said that the match was for four days, but after inspecting the ground, the team management had had a discussion where it was decided that they would play a three-day game with Essex — July 25-27.
The team will leave the next day for Birmingham and practise for a day at the venue for the next Test match.
The outfield looks like an Indian ground covered with grass that has turned brown because of the hot summers England has been experiencing for the past few years. The wicket looks green, but, as the day progresses, the condition will be perfect for batting.
The 18-member team has arrived in two batches. In the first batch, captain Virat Kohli, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane — along with members of the ODI squad — reached around 9.30 AM. Openers Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan came to the nets first.
Kohli batted in all the three net sessions on the Essex ground for more than one-and-a-half hours. Assistant coach Sanjay Bangar and another support staff member was bowled at the nets.
Kohli looks more focussed on his batting. Vice-captain Rahane spent more than an hour on the nets. KL Rahul batted at No. 3 after Vijay and Dhawan.
Karun Nair took to fielding and catching practice and batted very late. Dinesh Karthik practised wicket-keeping with fielding coach R Sridhar for more than half-an-hour. Reserve keeper Rishabh Pant just geared up as an extra man. Pace bowling triumvirate Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma and Shardul Thakur bowled continuously at the main nets to the batsmen.
The second batch reached an hour later with Cheteshwar Pujara, pacer Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jaspreet Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja.
Spinner Jadeja and Ashwin bowled at the nets continuously to batsmen in single nets. Due to the hot weather and condition of the ground, the Indian spin trio will get the feeling of a perfect home soil at Essex.
Jaspreet Bumrah looked conscious as he practised bowling. He did not bowl at full pace due to his injury. Bumrah had had a surgery and he is travelling with the team. The team management is working on his fitness. He is expected to be fully fit after the first Test.
Ravi Shastri and bowling coach Bharat Arun talked with the boys during the practice sessions.
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Last Updated Jul 24, 2018, 9:54 PM IST