Wicketkeeper Srikar Bharat impressed with an unbeaten 70, even as India’s top-order failed to get batting practice on the first day of their warm-up match against Leicestershire in Leicester on Thursday. India ended the Day 1 on 246/8. Opting to bat after winning the toss, India’s top guns failed to fire as the visitors slipped to 81 for five. However, Bharat shone during his 158-minute stay in the middle before rain brought an early end to the day’s proceedings at Grace Road. In all, the 28-year-old batter from Andhra hit eight fours and a six while facing 111 balls. At stumps, Mohammed Shami was giving Bharat company on 18.
Skipper Rohit Sharma (25) and Shubman Gill (21) got out after getting starts. The opening duo, which is set to begin India’s innings in the one-off ‘fifth Test’, added 35 runs for the first wicket before the latter was dismissed by fast-medium bowler Will Davis.
India’s first-choice wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant, who was representing the English county side alongside Cheteshwar Pujara, Jasprit Bumrah and Prasidh Krishna, held on to the catch of Gill, who found the fence four times while lasting 38 minutes.
For the addition of another 15 runs, India lost the wicket of Rohit, who hit three fours during his 64-minute stay in the middle. Rohit’s departure paved the way for Virat Kohli’s arrival, and the former India captain looked to take the onus upon himself to prop up India.
In between, Hanuma Vihari (3) came on to bat at number three but departed cheaply off the bowling of Roman Walker.
Shreyas Iyer failed to open his account and walked back to the dressing room after facing 11 balls, having nicked Prasidh to the waiting hands of Pant.
Interestingly Prasidh, who got the ball to swing prodigiously, got some tips from Kohli right before Iyer’s dismissal.
All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja too failed to make an impact as he was adjudged lbw off the bowling of Roman Walker, who finished the day with impressive figures of 5/24.
With five of their batters back in the hut, Kohli and wicketkeeper Bharat got together and added 57 runs to steady the ship.
However, Kohli, having struck four boundaries and a six, fell to Walker. The 21-year-old seamer then dismissed Shardul Thakur (6) to complete his five-wicket-haul and reduce India to 148 for seven.
Fast bolwer Umesh Yadav chipped in with 23 off 32 balls, hitting four boundaries in the process.
The Test match, rescheduled after it was abandoned owing to a COVID-19 outbreak last year, starts on July 1.
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