After the batting debacle at Cuttack, the Indian willowers on Wednesday focussed on sharpening their skills at the nets ahead of their third and final Twenty20 International (T20I) against South Africa at the Eden Gardens here. In the last game, the Indian batting crumbled like cookies for a mere 92 runs and South Africa chased the total down quite easily, losing only four wickets. South Africa have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. On Wednesday afternoon, after their warm-ups, the Indian team took to playing a bit of football which lasted for some time.
Then one by one the big guns, who failed with the bat last time around at Cuttack, ensured they spent enough time facing the bowlers in the nets. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni did look aggressive while batting, stepping down the tracks time and again to the likes of left-arm spinner Axar Patel and other club level tweakers.
Virat Kohli, after rounds of knocking, belted a few while in the nets and as usual some of his drives rocketed past the bowler and slammed into the boxes meant for storing fluids and water bottles. Middle-order bat Ajinkya Rahane, who had been left out of the playing XI in the last two matches, was also seen practising for around 45 minutes. “Rahane is a quality player there is no doubt about it. It all depends on the team management as to what they feel will be the best team combination to win the game. Let us wait and see what they decide,”
off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said at the pre-match media conference. All-rounder Stuart Binny, who has not got a game yet in the series, too was seen slogging it out at the nets but whether he will be selected for the game remains to be seen. He and experienced left-hander Suresh Raina were the ones who started the session in the afternoon. On the other hand, South Africa had been training in the morning but their talismanic willower AB De Villiers was missing from the action. When asked about De Villiers’ absence, teammate David Miller said: “It was an optional practice today. Some players have taken the day off, but I hope AB will play tomorrow.”