India opt for defensive approach in first day of the warm-up match
India opt for defensive approach in first day of the warm-up match

The first day of India’s two-month long campaign in the Caribbean was a quick view of how things could go on as the series progresses and achieves a grave hue. The wicket just like Caribbean surfaces of late, lacks any life and bounce, and is more of a sluggish third-day wicket in the subcontinent, and the Windies bowlers, hoping to make it to the Test eleven, were basically insipid.

But India would not mind this as it served India’s purposes, considering the batsmen picking up some useful red-ball practice ahead of the first Test. You have to keep in mind, these men have been going through a diet exclusively of T20s since the beginning of this year.

After Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat first; the openers, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul, frustrated the fast bowlers with some solid defense, though the conditions hardly post any kind of threat.

There was actually nothing on the surface for the fast bowlers to take advantage, even the sporadic showers in the morning couldn’t affect much. And the West Indies Board President’s XI bowlers also looked doesn’t care about the virtue of discipline. They messed with their lines, and if the Indian openers were more aggressive, they would have tear apart them with relish. Instead, Dhawan and Rahul carefully built their innings. The reason is obvious, though it was a practice match, both had enough stakes in it.

For Dhawan it was all about survive through the first challenge, or rather staying relevant. Now it looks, he’ll be the man to open with Murali Vijay in the first Test in Antigua. There has been so many question marks over his consistency and technique, following his below par series in South Africa, which he started with a pair and in the next five innings, couldn’t cross fifty.

Meanwhile his partner, and the one who is well in from, KL Rahul, had had to endure a slightly tetchy day. While he was largely comfortable with his technique, he couldn’t curb his expansive beautiful drives.

He was even beaten a couple of times, before edging one to left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican, only the late reaction of the first slip giving him a lifeline.

On the other hand, Dhawan grew in confidence and eventually started to attack the spinners. While completing a decent 51, with seven boundaries, he was later called back to the pavilion, to be replaced by Cheteshwar Pujara.

Likewise, Kohli substituted Rahul soon after his 99-ball 50. Followed an encore of the first hour, when both batsmen were keen to adjust to the conditions rather than punishing a modest bunch of bowlers.

After 48 overs of tiredness and fatigue, West Indies bowlers had their first taste of success, when Warrican had Kohli caught behind off a thin outside edge.

Coincidence or not, the Indian captain was twice dismissed by Ravindra Jadeja in the practice game in Alur during India’s preperatory camp in Bangalore. It’s now a valid point that West Indies selectors would be interested in calling up all the half-decent left-arm spinners in the islands for the Antigua Test.

Brief score: Indians (1st innings) 258 for 6 in 93 overs (Dhawan 51, Rahul 50) vs WICB.


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