India enjoyed yet another useful workout ahead of the start of the first Test with England next week as their batsmen compiled 341-6 on the second day of their final warm-up fixture against Derbyshire at the County Ground.
The tourists batted for 91 overs after Derbyshire skipper Chesney Hughes had opted to declare on his side’s overnight score of 326 for five. However, India made a sluggish start to the morning’s play after losing both openers inside the first 10 overs.
Murali Vijay was the first to depart after being trapped lbw for just six, before his partner Shikhar Dhawan then fell for the same score after pushing at a wide ball from the impressive Ben Cotton and was caught behind the wicket to leave his team struggling on 18 for two.
“@the_topspin: So, it's going to be 18 of India v (we think) 12 of Derbyshire. Absolutely ridiculous . Sticking 2 fingers up to cricket— David 'Bumble' Lloyd (@BumbleCricket) July 2, 2014
That, though, turned out to be the high point of the day for Derbyshire as rock-solid No. 3 Cheteshwar Pujara then set about rebuilding India’s innings either side of lunch in partnership with first Virat Kohli and then skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (pictured).
In fact, Pujara and his captain shared in the biggest stand of the day as the pair added 119 runs for the fourth wicket after that man Cotton had bowled the dangerous Kohli for 36 early in the afternoon session.
Dhoni's contribution to the partnership was a quickfire 46 from just 56 balls, with four fours and a six, only for the wicketkeeper to be bowled trying to deposit David Wainwright out of the ground after being deceived in the flight by the slow left-armer.
|Dhawan||c Hosein||b Cotton||6||38||26||1||0|
|Jadeja||c Turner||b Wainwright||45||79||67||7||1|
|Extras||2nb 6w 10b 9lb||27|
|Total||for 6 (91.0 ovs)||341|
And after the in-form Pujara then decided to retire for the second match in a row having made an attractive 81, including 13 fours, in order to give the rest of the Indian batting lineup some time in the middle, all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Stuart Binny both proceeded to push their claims for a starting spot against England at Trent Bridge next Thursday.
The duo had put on 88 together in an entertaining and boundary-laden sixth-wicket partnership before the left-handed Jadeja (45) fell to an outstanding diving catch at short-extra cover by Mark Turner to hand Wainwright his second wicket of the day.
Will India's top six in the first Test be the same as in this match?
However, Binny remained unbeaten on 81 at the close, made from just 111 deliveries with nine boundary fours and two sixes, as the 30-year-old also put his name in the hat for a possible Test debut at Nottingham.
Equally, though, Gautam Gambhir's chances of playing at Trent Bridge next week now look over after the experienced batsman was overlooked on a day in which even Ajinkya Rahane came in to bat at No. 8 while adding 53 for the seventh wicket with Binny.
Now the tourists have just 90 more overs on the final day to get their preparations right for the first Test, with it expected that those will be split evenly so as to allow India's players sufficient time both to bat and bowl on Thursday after Dhoni declared their first innings at the close.