Leicestershire v Indians, Leicester, 1st day June 26, 2014

Top order leads Indians' solid effort

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Indians 333 for 4 (Dhawan 60*, Pujara 57, Gambhir 54) v Leicestershire
Scorecard

"Atif bhai. Thoda aaram se. Mehman hain aapka. Sambhal ke dal na" (Atif, go steady. He is your guest. Please take care), a fan shouted from the Benett End after the left-arm seamer from Leicestershire hit the Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan on his right elbow, forcing the batsman to retire hurt.

Yet, it was the Indians who caused more pain for a half-strength Leicestershire side, with three of their batsmen recording elegant and effortless half-centuries. Only two batsmen were officially out as three players opted to retire before the visitors, as per the rules, declared at the end of the day.

After M Vijay bottom edged a wide delivery into gully at the stroke of the first hour, Dhawan and Gautam Gambhir created a strong platform by forging a 119-run stand for the second wicket. Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli built on it by adding 64 for the third wicket, before an undefeated 74-run stand between Ajikya Rahane and Rohit Sharma lifted the Indians to 333 for 4, and deflated the spirits of the Leicestershire bowlers.

With the forecast indicating afternoon showers over the next two days, MS Dhoni opted to bat. The Indians decided to field all 18 players, though the plan was to play 15-a-side on the eve of the match. The visitors' batting XI included everyone apart from R Ashwin.

Dhawan was one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 2013 for his match-winning knocks during India's triumph in the Champions Trophy. However, he began nervously by chasing after a full and wide delivery from Anthony Ireland and edging it to third slip, only to be handed a reprieve by Dan Redfern. It was a sharp chance. Ireland kicked the air in disgust. Dhawan brought up the Indians' fifty by slashing the medium-pacer Shiv Thakor past point for four and followed it up by going down on his knees to cover drive for another four.

Dhawan remained quiet for a brief period, going 14 deliveries without scoring, but then hit four consecutive fours. A light tap to the leg side brought up a 79-ball fifty, as well as the 50-run partnership for the second wicket with Gambhir.

By lunch, India were 106 for 1 and Leicestershire, who were missing most of their first XI following a ten-wicket loss to Surrey, were hurting. However, the hosts returned after the break with Ireland and Shaikh bowling with more intensity.

In the sixth over after lunch Shaikh, who has played only one first-class match, aimed a short and quick delivery into Dhawan's ribs. Dhawan backed out, but to his surprise the ball followed him swiftly and hit him on the right elbow. Dhawan threw the bat instantly, wincing in pain, and a few minutes later he walked back to the dressing room retired hurt. The Indian team management clarified later that the batsman was fine and there was no cause for concern.

Gambhir, in his first outing for India since losing his opening position to Dhawan more than a year ago, did not let the incident disrupt his tempo. He had hit his first boundary off his 13th delivery - an edgy square drive against Thakor - and seemed poised for a big score. He was compact, calm and comfortable against all bowlers.

Gambhir kept clipping and pushing the ball into gaps for runs, before collecting his half-century with a back-foot drive to the cover boundary against offspinner Jigar Naik. He immediately decided to retire, the first of three players to do so.

Leicestershire appeared listless for the majority of the day, with the bowlers failing to maintain a consistent line to trouble the batsmen. Having learned from their recent experiences in South Africa and New Zealand, the Indians were happy to go through the motions without doing anything silly.

Their only mistake came immediately after tea, when Kohli misread the line and played away to a full inswinging delivery from Thakor to lose his off stump. Pujara also retired soon after hitting fifty, Ajinkya Rahane started with four consecutive fours, and Rohit Sharma nearly raced to the fastest half-century of the day before the innings had to be declared.

More accustomed to the rumbling sounds inside Indian grounds, the visitors had to be content playing in front of a subdued Thursday crowd. Grace Road was reportedly sold out on the eve of the match, but virtually half the ground was empty today.

The Indians will not attach too much significance to the runs scored, considering Leicestershire and Derbysire, their opponents in the second tour match next week, occupy the bottom two rungs in Division 2 of the English County Championship. The last Championship match Leicestershire won was the final game of the 2012 season.

However, even after accounting for the quality of their opponents, the Indians wanted to clock adequate minutes in the middle and are bound to be satisfied with their returns on the first day.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Venkat_Gowrishankar on | June 26, 2014, 20:43 GMT

    2nd string team or not, As much as cricket is a game of skill , confidence plays a vital role in a player's and team's performance. Supplying weakened teams might backfire as it gives much needed confidence on the first day of a lengthy tour , just as it has done here. Just imagine, if India were to play against a top team in the championship and were bowled out within the day, that would shatter the confidence of the team going forward and doubts would start creeping in about the player's ability to play in English conditions. Though the likes of Anderson and Broad are top class, this outing for the Indians would ensure that they dont carry any doubts when they face them and that is the difference between tentative footwork and a good stride forward !.

  • POSTED BY Naresh28 on | June 30, 2014, 6:54 GMT

    The Indian bowlers got a good working over by this club side. A big worry for team management. The Indian batsman did play well and happy to see Gambhir showing form signs. The batsman should make or break their spots in this tour. If not there are others like Uthappa and Manoj Tiwari waiting. Both Gambhir and Kohli could be looked at as possible future captains of the test side.

  • POSTED BY Proteas_Power on | June 28, 2014, 10:07 GMT

    I ask from any of the Indian fan or team follower tell me one thing that all of you are always crying on Ind batsmen. Is any of your Ind batsmen have a class like Sanga & Mahela or is any of your Ind batsmen have bagged so many runs in both test & odi formats in their respective careers. plz don't mention Sachin's name whole world knows his 90% runs are from Ind or SC pitches. If anyone observes test cricket in recent time top 5 batsmen who are always consistent no matter where they are playing are 1.Sanga 2. Clarke 3.ABDV 4.Mahela 5.Amla/Mathews. No Ind batsmen is in top 5 or even in top 15 becoz they only score runs in Ind not even in SC (don't go to the ICC's Ranking they are based on performance, it doesn't matter they score in their country or not that's why 1 or 2 Ind batsmen are in ICC's Top 10 list

  • POSTED BY Cricsnake on | June 28, 2014, 6:41 GMT

    It's happy to see Indian young batsmen play very well as expected. A nice series awaits. I hope this time India could do much better. England has to comeback strongly and use their best bowlers to tackle with them.

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | June 27, 2014, 19:41 GMT

    @ ITJOBSUCKS indignantly wrote "@Greatest_Game India living in the shadow of SL ?? Ind has won Test series in Eng 3/4 times … blah blah ... first time SL won the series in Eng!!!!…More indignant blah blah…"

    An IT job must suck if you don't give sentences a little thought!!!

    My post began "I think India have a very good chance to win this series." Opinion clear, right? I end with "Time to see if India can match SL, or if they MUST live in the shadow ..." NOT India DOES live in the shadow.

    Does would mean now, in the present: MUST, in context, means in the future. I.E. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF INDIA CANNOT DO WHAT SL JUST DID! Even if India draw, SL's victory would OVERSHADOW that.

    If India don't win, their recent record WILL, at least for a while, be overshadowed by SL's recent achievements: World T20 Champs, (beat India in finals)… Test Series Win in Eng … etc. That is simple reality, not my opinion.

    Before posting objections, please make sure there IS something to object to!

  • POSTED BY Chaitanyareddy90 on | June 27, 2014, 15:24 GMT

    @ xyz-79 each and every team has some good time.now that good time with the srilanka. And also you know that the indian team give a solid confidence to the asian teams to defeat australia in their home grounds yes the sub continent teams are also capable to won the matches in oveses. And also the india is the fist sub continent team to win a odi series in ovesis. only minus point of india is our captin defenssive captian m.s dhoni.

  • POSTED BY screamingeagle on | June 27, 2014, 14:03 GMT

    @ brusselslion, I agree. However, I think there will be plenty of theories and excuses flying from both sides as the series goes on. As always, will be entertaining, hope the cricket is half as fun as the comments section. :D

  • POSTED BY brusselslion on | June 27, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    @screamingeagle: Thanks for correcting my omission!! However, we both forgot the injury angle which @look-ma-i-am-indian mentioned, plus the inclement weather that the ECB has on stand-by, just in case India should find itself in a winning position in any of the Tests .... Alternatively, we could just forget about all the conspiracy theories and excuses, and accept that whichever team wins the series might just do so because they had played the better cricket.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | June 27, 2014, 13:47 GMT

    Gambhir & Dhawan are both prone to chasing balls wide outside the off stump. Today Dhawan was reprieved by a dropped catch in the slips but he won't be that lucky in the tests. Secondly. the Leicester pace attack was no match to Broad, Anderson & plunkett. They are faster, more persistent on or outside the off stump + move the ball both the ways. This will be the greatest challenge to the Indian openers. Will Dhoni still persist with Gambhir or go to Vijay to open? For the rest of the batting it was good practice of the English pitch & conditions. The ball moves in the England environment even after 4o overs & Kohli was bowled by one such ball. These are early lessons for the Indian batsmen. It remains to be seen how the India pace bowlers bowl on Day 2. It is essential to bowl on or outside the off stump to make slips count. Also who is in the slips is crucial. There are no specialist slip fielders like Dravid, Sehwag or Tendulkar. Are Ashwin & Vijay skilled to play in slips?

  • POSTED BY IndianSRTfan on | June 27, 2014, 13:38 GMT

    @brusselslion: If India win the test series, it will be because they played better cricket. Unlike other teams and their management, our team and majority of the fans don't whinge about the quality of opposition in practice matches and pitches that vary drastically from practice matches to actual tests. We don't come to Eng/Aus/SA expecting pitches that turn square because it suits our strengths although the reverse is definitely not true.

  • POSTED BY Venkat_Gowrishankar on | June 26, 2014, 20:43 GMT

    2nd string team or not, As much as cricket is a game of skill , confidence plays a vital role in a player's and team's performance. Supplying weakened teams might backfire as it gives much needed confidence on the first day of a lengthy tour , just as it has done here. Just imagine, if India were to play against a top team in the championship and were bowled out within the day, that would shatter the confidence of the team going forward and doubts would start creeping in about the player's ability to play in English conditions. Though the likes of Anderson and Broad are top class, this outing for the Indians would ensure that they dont carry any doubts when they face them and that is the difference between tentative footwork and a good stride forward !.

  • POSTED BY Naresh28 on | June 30, 2014, 6:54 GMT

    The Indian bowlers got a good working over by this club side. A big worry for team management. The Indian batsman did play well and happy to see Gambhir showing form signs. The batsman should make or break their spots in this tour. If not there are others like Uthappa and Manoj Tiwari waiting. Both Gambhir and Kohli could be looked at as possible future captains of the test side.

  • POSTED BY Proteas_Power on | June 28, 2014, 10:07 GMT

    I ask from any of the Indian fan or team follower tell me one thing that all of you are always crying on Ind batsmen. Is any of your Ind batsmen have a class like Sanga & Mahela or is any of your Ind batsmen have bagged so many runs in both test & odi formats in their respective careers. plz don't mention Sachin's name whole world knows his 90% runs are from Ind or SC pitches. If anyone observes test cricket in recent time top 5 batsmen who are always consistent no matter where they are playing are 1.Sanga 2. Clarke 3.ABDV 4.Mahela 5.Amla/Mathews. No Ind batsmen is in top 5 or even in top 15 becoz they only score runs in Ind not even in SC (don't go to the ICC's Ranking they are based on performance, it doesn't matter they score in their country or not that's why 1 or 2 Ind batsmen are in ICC's Top 10 list

  • POSTED BY Cricsnake on | June 28, 2014, 6:41 GMT

    It's happy to see Indian young batsmen play very well as expected. A nice series awaits. I hope this time India could do much better. England has to comeback strongly and use their best bowlers to tackle with them.

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | June 27, 2014, 19:41 GMT

    @ ITJOBSUCKS indignantly wrote "@Greatest_Game India living in the shadow of SL ?? Ind has won Test series in Eng 3/4 times … blah blah ... first time SL won the series in Eng!!!!…More indignant blah blah…"

    An IT job must suck if you don't give sentences a little thought!!!

    My post began "I think India have a very good chance to win this series." Opinion clear, right? I end with "Time to see if India can match SL, or if they MUST live in the shadow ..." NOT India DOES live in the shadow.

    Does would mean now, in the present: MUST, in context, means in the future. I.E. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF INDIA CANNOT DO WHAT SL JUST DID! Even if India draw, SL's victory would OVERSHADOW that.

    If India don't win, their recent record WILL, at least for a while, be overshadowed by SL's recent achievements: World T20 Champs, (beat India in finals)… Test Series Win in Eng … etc. That is simple reality, not my opinion.

    Before posting objections, please make sure there IS something to object to!

  • POSTED BY Chaitanyareddy90 on | June 27, 2014, 15:24 GMT

    @ xyz-79 each and every team has some good time.now that good time with the srilanka. And also you know that the indian team give a solid confidence to the asian teams to defeat australia in their home grounds yes the sub continent teams are also capable to won the matches in oveses. And also the india is the fist sub continent team to win a odi series in ovesis. only minus point of india is our captin defenssive captian m.s dhoni.

  • POSTED BY screamingeagle on | June 27, 2014, 14:03 GMT

    @ brusselslion, I agree. However, I think there will be plenty of theories and excuses flying from both sides as the series goes on. As always, will be entertaining, hope the cricket is half as fun as the comments section. :D

  • POSTED BY brusselslion on | June 27, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    @screamingeagle: Thanks for correcting my omission!! However, we both forgot the injury angle which @look-ma-i-am-indian mentioned, plus the inclement weather that the ECB has on stand-by, just in case India should find itself in a winning position in any of the Tests .... Alternatively, we could just forget about all the conspiracy theories and excuses, and accept that whichever team wins the series might just do so because they had played the better cricket.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | June 27, 2014, 13:47 GMT

    Gambhir & Dhawan are both prone to chasing balls wide outside the off stump. Today Dhawan was reprieved by a dropped catch in the slips but he won't be that lucky in the tests. Secondly. the Leicester pace attack was no match to Broad, Anderson & plunkett. They are faster, more persistent on or outside the off stump + move the ball both the ways. This will be the greatest challenge to the Indian openers. Will Dhoni still persist with Gambhir or go to Vijay to open? For the rest of the batting it was good practice of the English pitch & conditions. The ball moves in the England environment even after 4o overs & Kohli was bowled by one such ball. These are early lessons for the Indian batsmen. It remains to be seen how the India pace bowlers bowl on Day 2. It is essential to bowl on or outside the off stump to make slips count. Also who is in the slips is crucial. There are no specialist slip fielders like Dravid, Sehwag or Tendulkar. Are Ashwin & Vijay skilled to play in slips?

  • POSTED BY IndianSRTfan on | June 27, 2014, 13:38 GMT

    @brusselslion: If India win the test series, it will be because they played better cricket. Unlike other teams and their management, our team and majority of the fans don't whinge about the quality of opposition in practice matches and pitches that vary drastically from practice matches to actual tests. We don't come to Eng/Aus/SA expecting pitches that turn square because it suits our strengths although the reverse is definitely not true.

  • POSTED BY Bhatin on | June 27, 2014, 13:03 GMT

    @ xyz_79 - Let Sri Lanka first win a test - a single test match not even a series in India and we will talk later.

    BTW, India as won at least 3 series in England earlier. As far as Sri Lanka is concerned, have they even one a single series before this one?

  • POSTED BY Nilesh_IndianCricketFan on | June 27, 2014, 13:00 GMT

    Not sure if playing against such a weak opposition would help Indian team to prepare for such a tough tour. BCCI should have asked for some better opponents in the warm up matches.

  • POSTED BY Micro_Max_Eng on | June 27, 2014, 12:48 GMT

    xyz_79 .. I m just floored by ur confidence level man. Sri Lanka is by far d most better team this year. But this doesn't mean Indian cricket team is a sitting duck. If Sri Lanka had d guts to play Eng in a 5 match series then would have lost too by a margin of 2-1. This Indian team is far much better than d last touring party as they r young and hungry to do well in overseas. One series win by Lanka doesn't mean they r superior to d Indian cricket team. In my view India will perform very well in this tour and will show Mr.Russel Arnold and Co. that Indians r far much better than Lankans.

  • POSTED BY aby_97 on | June 27, 2014, 12:40 GMT

    @xyz_79 It's good to be a fan of your cricketing nation but also learn to appreciate good cricket as well.

    NZ has worked hard to transform into a good cricket team.

    I would say Kudos to SL team on their win rather than saying that England didn't play good cricket.

  • POSTED BY Carl13 on | June 27, 2014, 12:21 GMT

    @India_boy ... read my earlier post ... how much did kohli average in first 7 test ... My opinion is opposite . rohit technique is solid . He dismissals were poor short selection . He needs to given a fair run and t he coming few test will prove this .

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2014, 12:14 GMT

    @xyz_79: Kudos to SL fans, even after loosing four ODI series on the trott to India that too on SL soil, they think SL is better than INDIA, first beat INDIA in tests/ODI series then talk.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | June 27, 2014, 12:10 GMT

    I am eagerly waiting for the series to begin, These youngsters will shut their critics once and for all.. Even some Indian fans who I am sure will come in running to hail India rather than criticise..They are not true fans, True fans support their team through thick and thin..Not batter them when they don't perform well.. Instead give them encouragement to do well.. That's what a true fan is all about.. SL fans must concentrate on the upcoming SA tour of SL as SA is looking to settle scores.. We will post our valuable comments during that series as well.. SL need to win at home(Test series) as they haven't won any test series at home since 2009.. It will remain same..

  • POSTED BY screamingeagle on | June 27, 2014, 12:00 GMT

    @brusselslion, no you haven't. If England loses it because of all the negative press on Cook which pressurised him. Plus Broad and Anderson were tired and Prior was rushed back. If England wins, just type the opposite. Now maybe we have covered some more bases, yes?

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2014, 11:49 GMT

    Dont know y everybody say rohit is a future star he got so many opportunities and why yuvi did not ever get a long run in test to settle himself what selector expect that he comes in and score 100 in both innings in his first chance

  • POSTED BY Yousufahmed1 on | June 27, 2014, 11:39 GMT

    @ xyz_79 I accept Sl is far ahead of India in many things. Crying for bad light, crying for re toss, crying for weather, asking bowlers to bowl no bowl. Way ahead. LOL.

  • POSTED BY FiGhtCluB_99 on | June 27, 2014, 11:38 GMT

    "Gambhir, in his first outing for India since losing his opening position to Dhawan more than a year ago," Gambhir had actually lost his place to Vijay. Vijay and Sehwag opened in the first two Tests against Australia. Dhawan replaced Sehwag in the third Test and scored 187. Anyways, the opening combination for this tour should be Gambhir and Dhawan.

  • POSTED BY Yousufahmed1 on | June 27, 2014, 11:34 GMT

    @ xyz_79 Please don't mention colombo track bullies in the same sentence as ponting, dravid and Lara. Stop embarrassing yourself. The great paper legend sanga has 6 centuries outside SC after playing 126 test matches. That is the worst record ever, even Chigubra from zim can better that. And Mahela is as good a batsman as Sir Jadeja. LOL.

  • POSTED BY Proteas_Power on | June 27, 2014, 11:07 GMT

    All Indian batsmen are flat track bullies whole world knows that truth. And what to say about Indian bowling attack they even can't stop McCullum who is noway near Sanga Mahela or Smith Clarke Ponting Lara Dravid & gave him a gift of triple ton & the opportunity to N.Zealand to Drew the match which in my view is one sided game for any team in world except India. Your team can't even stop NZ & you are dreaming to win a series in England. LOL I eagerly waiting....when this series will complete all Indian fans will accept that S.Lanka is far better team than India.

  • POSTED BY ITJOBSUCKS on | June 27, 2014, 11:04 GMT

    @cric1965 You can't consider 98 as a series as it was 1 off match!!! So, this is the first time SL has won a series in Eng...SL has won ONLY 2 series outside SC, the othe r being in NZ!!!

  • POSTED BY Yousufahmed1 on | June 27, 2014, 10:59 GMT

    @ cric1965 "From 1932 to 2011 India had played 16 serious in England and won only 3 serious draw 1 serious and other 14 serious lost" This confirms how aware SL fans are. LOL. I rest my case. And please also confirm how many test matches have the great colombo track bullies won in India and AUS. LOL.

  • POSTED BY ITJOBSUCKS on | June 27, 2014, 10:55 GMT

    @cric1965 You can't consider 98 as series as it was 1 off match!!!!

  • POSTED BY android_user on | June 27, 2014, 10:49 GMT

    this time Indian are better then the previously tour of england ... beautiful Indian

  • POSTED BY Yousufahmed1 on | June 27, 2014, 10:44 GMT

    @ India_boy There are some countries who would consider him a legend. There is this colombo track bully who has played 400 ODI still averages below Rohit. HAHA. That legend is still not international material.

  • POSTED BY cric1965 on | June 27, 2014, 10:37 GMT

    From 1932 to 2011 India had played 16 serious in England and won only 3 serious draw 1 serious and other 14 serious lost. . India won in 1971, 1986 and 2007. India draw 1-1 in 2002. Best performance in 1986, won by 2-0. Worst performance in 1959- lost by 5-0 and next worse in 2011 lost by 4-0. Current Team has a big challenge to win the serious after Sri Lanka won the serious. Otherwise every body will tell Sri Lanka team is better than India. Sri Lanka has played 8 times in England. They won 2 times ,1998 and 2014, draw 3 times,1984,1988 and 2006. Lost 3 times 1991, 2002, 2011.

  • POSTED BY Proteas_Power on | June 27, 2014, 10:03 GMT

    @shivramg94 on (June 27, 2014, 8:00 GMT):- "dont compare the line up which toured england and australia three years back with the present line up..its entirely different" hahaha yes it is different they lost 4-0 in 2011 & now they will loose 5-0 LOL how much it different from past we will all see after 12 days...

  • POSTED BY India_boy on | June 27, 2014, 9:59 GMT

    @Carl3...I am not being harsh on Rohit, but you got to admit, he has a verypoor technique on fast and bouncy pitches. His lazy attitude might get him some runs on slow and low Indian pitches but on fast and bouncy tracks of SA and Aus, and swinging cond. of Eng where you have to make quick adjustments due to late swing, this guy will completely be exposed. Who can forget his classic dismissal when he left a delivery that pitched on the middle, just to get clean bowled! Even after playing 130+ ODIs, he is still not international material. Admit it, he is being forced upon us and his frailties and chinks are being hidden by giving him maximum chances on Indian pitches (eg. 2 tests against WI)

  • POSTED BY YesSirYesSirThreebagsfull on | June 27, 2014, 9:26 GMT

    It is ugly tactics of England to injure key player from Team India before test. That is the sole purpose of this warm up matches. It is good Indian batsmens retired early to prevent further injuries.

  • POSTED BY nikhil_24 on | June 27, 2014, 9:22 GMT

    These days in every article you can see people from different parts of the world are criticizing Indian Cricket Team and hoping that Indian Team will lose each and every series in overseas. Indian team was in the rebuilding phase earlier but I expect this time Indian Team will show a far better performance in England. Even the records suggest that India has played some excellent cricket in England in the past (since 1992 out of 9 Test Series India have won 4 of them while England have won 3 of them ). If one see the stats England won first test series against India after 15 years in 2011. Will love to see India Winning this series and silence their critics. Cheers.!

  • POSTED BY ITJOBSUCKS on | June 27, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    @ India_boy Check the facts before posting anything!!! MSD averages 39 in Eng, sanga averages 41 in Eng(it was 30 before this series), laxman(35), even a SL legend mahela averages around 35 in Eng...When Ind won the series in 2007, it was MSD who saved the match in Lords & before Ind went on to win the 2nd match due to SRT & Dada!!!! I know MSD has under-performed outside SC, but Mark My Words this time around MSD will set the record straight!!!!

  • POSTED BY Carl13 on | June 27, 2014, 9:16 GMT

    @ India_boy ..you are been harsh on rohit . Pls compare the stats in first 6-7 test when virat was new to test cricket . Rohit has had a good beginning so far . Give ppl time to settle in . One or two bad series does not make you bad overseas player .

  • POSTED BY brusselslion on | June 27, 2014, 9:15 GMT

    Should India win the forthcoming Test series, it will be because the ECB's "strategy" in giving India poor opposition, and/or pitches and/or <add as necessary> in warm-up matches has backfired, and simply allowed the Indian team time to play themselves into form.

    Should India lose the forthcoming Test series, it will be because the ECB acted against the spirit of the game in giving India poor opposition, and/or pitches and/or <add as necessary> in warm-up matches, thus not allowing them sufficient time to practice against decent opposition.

    Congratulations, guys. I think that's covered the bases.

  • POSTED BY ITJOBSUCKS on | June 27, 2014, 9:09 GMT

    @Cricketfan11111 Jordan failed to pick a wicket in this match on Headingly pitch & Eng bowled first in this match & nobody criticized him at all!!! Jordan has been very poor since the 3rd ODI when SL were bowled out for 67 & still nobody talks about his pathetic bowling in Lords & Leeds!!! I would be astonished if Eng were not to play stokes in place of jordan against Ind!!!!

  • POSTED BY India_boy on | June 27, 2014, 8:56 GMT

    @Pacifist and Grvjpr - Brittle means easily breakable, at the application of little pressure, it doesn't mean it will break everytime. You gave example of Dhawan and Pujara - they are not middle order, middle order is 4,5,6,7 (7 being lower middle order) we have reliable Kohli at 4 and ever improving Rahane at 5 but 6 & 7 the position that open the gates to tail-enders are occupied by Rohit & Dhoni - 2 of the worst batsmen in overseas conditions. Their failure is inevitable which means collapse everytime 5th or 6th wkt falls. Other teams have better players at this posn. like ABDv, Matthews, Haddin, Prior, Samuels, Root/Stokes, S. Smith etc. which is why I said we have the most brittle middle order. Anyways, lets talk about it after the series. Hope we do well there!

  • POSTED BY ladycricfan on | June 27, 2014, 8:48 GMT

    Anderson and Broad looked a bit jaded. There is a talk that the two may not play all 5 matches. Plunket troubled the batsmen a lot with his short pitched bowling. Moeen seems to have a very good cricketing brain. So don't underestimate his spin bowling. Jordan preferred over Bresnen as an allrounder and looked good. It has been a dry summer in England and the pitches are drier than usual which will help the Indian batters and the spin bowlers.

    First day of the practice match went well for india. Bowlers' day today. Let's see who will impress Dhoni the most.

  • POSTED BY Monoz1976 on | June 27, 2014, 8:36 GMT

    What does the ECB expect by giving poor county teams for the Asian teams? Poor match practice, less acclimatization? SL was given Essex, Kent, Sussex and Northns. Sussex and Northans teams stay at 7th and 9th (last) place of the county Division 1. Essex and Kent remains at 5th and 7th places out of 9 teams. But, that strategy backfired them big time with a complete whitewash by SL in all three formats. This time they have given much lower by giving Derby and Leicest who are at the two bottom positions in county Division 2. Not only that, they further weaken the weak county teams in weaker division. Example, No JJ Cobb, No Niall O'brien, No Sarwan, No Styrish. Hope this will backfire them against Ind with a series whitewash. SL and Ind should consider giving them the weakest teams at home practice matches.

  • POSTED BY ITJOBSUCKS on | June 27, 2014, 8:29 GMT

    @ramli As lords & oval would invariably results in draw matches b'coz of the flatness of the wicket, I would've have to think 2-1(either team) would be the most likely result...I hope Ind wins the series by a MARIN of 2 as Ind has never ever won the series outside SC(exclu Zim) by a margin of 2!!!!

  • POSTED BY ramli on | June 27, 2014, 8:21 GMT

    Nice outing for Indian batsmen ... if the bowlers could do the same, then we can expect to see some competition between India and England in tests ... certainly, SL performance will be a booster to the Indians. 2-1 in favour of India, I say ... any takers?

  • POSTED BY ITJOBSUCKS on | June 27, 2014, 8:19 GMT

    @ Sinhabahu As sanga failed miserably while handling johanson & was hit on the body many a times before getting retired hurt & missed the next Test @ sydney to protect his average in AUS.....LOL I've heard zillion times that srilankan's don't get many chances outside SC, but when they do get, they miss out on the matches to protect their averages....LOL Everyone saw in the world how dale steyn & morkel were treated in SA by the young & in-experienced Indian bastmen....Dale didn't get wicket for some 100 odd overs if i'm not wrong in SA...Had India picked BK instead of struggling Zak, India would've created history in SA by the winning the series as the first SC!!! India is the ONLY SC team to drew a Test series in SA in 2011!!!

  • POSTED BY ramli on | June 27, 2014, 8:18 GMT

    @xyz_79 ... it's time to wake up from dreaming!!! It is SL fan talking too much now about winning future Aus series!!! SL unusually competed very well to earn a deserved win in Eng ... congrats for that ... the reality check will come very soon when Sanga and Mahela pack their bags and hang their shoes!!!

  • POSTED BY shivramg94 on | June 27, 2014, 8:00 GMT

    @Sinhabahu lol..i think u didnt watch the series against SA and NZ. the indian batsman handled their bowlers really well..it was the bowling which failed us..pujara kohli rahane all played well in those two series and please dont compare the line up which toured england and australia three years back with the present line up..its entirely different.

  • POSTED BY The-love on | June 27, 2014, 7:48 GMT

    After reading the comments here,I am not sure whether its going to be India vs England or India vs SL. India are very far from being a dominant team but SL also did not win a 1-sided match.Somehow they were able to avoid defeat in first test and somehow they got last wicket at second-last ball.Both matches were interesting and worth watching,that it.You can not say SL are the best or England are going downwards.It was a well fought series by both sides,thats it.We hope for one more between India and England.

  • POSTED BY Sinhabahu on | June 27, 2014, 7:21 GMT

    @ITJOBSUCKS and everyone saw how the entire Indian batting line-up handled the Aussie, English and NZ bowlers when they toured there ROFL.

  • POSTED BY JP_Nanakmatta on | June 27, 2014, 7:04 GMT

    I think India should go with 5 bowlers along with Jadeja and Ashwin and 3 seamers. English batsman are also not in top form so we can take our chances with 5 bowlers. My Team for the first Test- Dhawan, Gambhir, Pujara, Kohli, Rahane, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, Bhuvi, Shami and Pankaj/Pandey. please don't include Ishant. he has already played more tests than he deserved.

  • POSTED BY ITJOBSUCKS on | June 27, 2014, 7:02 GMT

    @xyz_79 Everyone saw how sanga handled Johanson in AUS last time around when SL lost(3-0)......LOL

  • POSTED BY Yousufahmed1 on | June 27, 2014, 6:40 GMT

    @ xyz_79 All I can do is LOL at your comment.

  • POSTED BY saurabhr868 on | June 27, 2014, 6:40 GMT

    If India bats first in 1st match.. pujara will score a 200.... kohli with a 100.... and Sri lankan commentors will shut up and sleep..... and beware... swing king BHUVI is in great form.... With shami he is gonna torn the england batting line-up...

  • POSTED BY PPL11 on | June 27, 2014, 6:38 GMT

    @xyz_79 - Best Really? but anyways all the best for Ausie series !!

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2014, 6:36 GMT

    It's time we teach the Lankan fans a lesson. They have been pretty irritating in here. It's apromising start to the series.

  • POSTED BY Proteas_Power on | June 27, 2014, 6:12 GMT

    All Indian fans are always talking too much before the start of any series. And we Lankans are always talking with bat & ball on the field every time, that's why we are far ahead than any other SC team in every format. I'm sure Eng will win 4-0 or 5-0 against this mediocre Ind bowling attack. We recently defeated England in their own backyard & all of those who are saying that SL never won any single test In Australia I bet in this current form we will beat Australia in their own backyard as they are the number 1 team in the world. We have Sanga to tackle the bouncy & fast pitches of Australia & Mathews & Jayawardene easily tackle Mitchell Johnson, Harris, Pattinson & Siddle easily as the Aussies are so called the best bowling lineup in the world. We are the best right now.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | June 27, 2014, 5:50 GMT

    dhawan may create on this tour because of his way of playing

  • POSTED BY ThePacifist10 on | June 27, 2014, 5:40 GMT

    @India_boy

    First point taken. But at least the ball is moving around, which essentially means that our boys are kept on their toes.

    I don't agree with your second comment. I would say that India has the finest top 6 batsmen in the game right now. Our bowlers are also getting better. With experience, everyone in the team will fire in unison and we'll win matches. This team has been made for the long-term. Rohit showed signs of massive improvement in NZ btw. Oh and SL are not a bottom team. They beat us in the final of the WT20 this year and have just swept England aside in their own backyard. Though I am of the belief that our boys can replicate their efforts to thrash England, I think SL deserve tremendous amounts of respect for their performances over the past 6 months. India can go past them to due their young and exciting team, which really started building in early 2013.

  • POSTED BY citizenkc on | June 27, 2014, 5:37 GMT

    Team for first test: Dhawan, Vijay, Gambhir, Pujara, Kohli, Rahane, Dhoni, Ashwin, Shami, Bhuvi, and Sharma. I am picking Gambhir because we need his experience. Gambhir could also be pushed to open and Vijay dropped. That way Rohit can come in to the team and also offer Dhoni an extra spin option. It's hard to choose between Jadeja and Ashwin, but I think that decision can be made based on conditions.

  • POSTED BY ITJOBSUCKS on | June 27, 2014, 5:37 GMT

    @ India_boy you are saying Indian middle order is brittle....If that is the case, how did they(Kohli, Rahane in SA & NZ, dhawan in NZ, pujara in SA) scored so many runs in SA & NZ in their first tour itself.....It's not easy to score runs in the maiden tour as the conditions will be vastly different & alien...AFAIK, some of the most experienced players of SL,Pak have failed miserably in Eng.....even sanga had failed 3 times in ENG before scoring 300 runs in this series & still his avg in Eng is modest 41!!!

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | June 27, 2014, 5:30 GMT

    Indian new ball bowling is better than Srilanka. Indian spinners will create more problems than the lankans Indian batting is equal in power to the lankans Thr is no point y the indians should'nt win comprehensively and end up their away test matches loosing streak

  • POSTED BY India_boy on | June 27, 2014, 5:28 GMT

    sorry, in my previous comment I meant pitch has nothing to do with swing

  • POSTED BY GRVJPR on | June 27, 2014, 5:20 GMT

    @ India_boy, Now prove by stats how Indian miiddle order is brittle compared to other teams given many of them haven't even played 15 test matches. Prove it, comon.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | June 27, 2014, 5:18 GMT

    @India_boy- The most brittle middle order? What do you think Pujara and Kohli are? Rohit and Rahane both are exceptional talent, Their first class record suggest that they are very good batters.. Rohit and Rahane both have played just 6-7 tests..You have to give them a long run to prove their worth.. Rohit sharma is a fantastic timer of the ball and if he's set he scores big daddy hundreds.. He just needs to clear up his mind while batting and it happens with experience.. They both are future of Indian batting line-up.. Give them some time..

  • POSTED BY citizenkc on | June 27, 2014, 5:18 GMT

    @GRVJPR: I know ECB chooses the teams that visiting teams play, but the Indian board could have insisted on a proper itinerary. For instance, when England tours Australia, they play at least three 3/4 day games. Likewise, when Australia toured England last summer, they played three 4-day games against Essex, Worcestershire, and Somerset before the first test. Given India's last disastrous tour of England, the Indian Board should have insisted on a proper itinerary.

  • POSTED BY India_boy on | June 27, 2014, 4:58 GMT

    @Cricketahan....Rohit Sharma put up a good performance in SA? his scores were 6, 14, 0 and 25 - a grand total of 45 in 4 inns. He is just a good IPL player , nothing else. Please don't give him credit like MSD and BCCI do - he is very talented! Apart from that, I think Indian middle order is the most brittle among the top 6 teams, even bottom team like SL has a better middle order.

  • POSTED BY India_boy on | June 27, 2014, 4:52 GMT

    @The PCifist...then you would also know that swing has nothing, nada, zilch,to do with swing. You think since the ball is swinging, it isn't a flat track. The ball reverse swings in India as well, where we have the flattest tracks. Here is basic cricket 101 for you - Seaming deliveries are due to pitch, swinging deliveries are due to moisture, wind, overcast conditions etc. which is why we say "seaming pitches" like those in SA and Aus and "swinging conditions" eg. Eng & NZ.

  • POSTED BY gladiatorgannicus on | June 27, 2014, 4:44 GMT

    @ RajSma have to agree with you. It would have been better off if they could have played 9 a side. It would have been a million times better than playing against a second string side having only 2 bowlers and 2 batsmen averaging in 30s

  • POSTED BY Udendra on | June 27, 2014, 4:41 GMT

    Leicestershire is at the bottom of Div 2!

  • POSTED BY gladiatorgannicus on | June 27, 2014, 4:30 GMT

    In the leicestershire side just 2 bowlers average in 30s (rest with a bowling avg above 40) and just 2 batsmen average in 30s (rest of the batsmen avg below 30).This is the kind of team Ind has been provided for a practise match. If you check for Eng tour of Ind 2012 on espn cricinfo you can see that they played against Ind A side consisting of vijay, abhinav mukund,rahane, yuvraj, raina, tiwary, saha, irfan, dinda, awana and vinay kumar. And when they faced mumbai they got to face shikar dhawan, pujara and surya kumar yadav and the rest a pretty decent side. Again when they faced haryana they had leg spinner amit mishra to play against. Cant understand the logic. Why not provide the best county side so that not only do you give your county side a chance to play against an international side but also if they win the visiting team will be put on the backfoot straight away. Also it will help the visiting team to have a quality match.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | June 27, 2014, 4:21 GMT

    Indian batsmen very very very very good fom It's really good news for india team

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2014, 4:19 GMT

    Good practice session for indian batting. need to use all bowlers available in the squad.Need to use both spinners. in the recent tour of srilanka. the spinners in the both team has been used effectively. Tough tour ahead. all the best for team india.

  • POSTED BY ITJOBSUCKS on | June 27, 2014, 4:12 GMT

    @Greatest_Game India living in the shadow of SL ?? Ind has won Test series in Eng 3/4 times whereas this was the first time SL won the series in Eng!!!! IN fact SL is yet to win a TEST in Ind & Aus...does that mean SL are living in the shadow of India ??

  • POSTED BY cricket_ahan on | June 27, 2014, 4:10 GMT

    @citiznekc - I think you aren't giving enough credit to the rest of the batting line up, especially Rahane and Rohit Sharma, who both put up good recent performances against a South African side playing in home conditions. England's bowlers are of decent quality, but in recent series' they don't (unsually) seem to be bowling the lengths that have allowed them to consistently swing the ball and trouble batsmen. In contrast, both Bhuv Kumar and M Shami have been game in pitching the ball up, and if they do so in the same way the Sri Lankan's recently did, they may have a decent amount of success. Further to that, England lack a quality spinner, where India have two n Jadeja and Ashwin. If the Indian batsmen adapt well to the swinging duke ball, it will be a very interesting series.

  • POSTED BY RajSma on | June 27, 2014, 4:06 GMT

    To all the Indian Fans......" Dont ever get over ambitious seeing these waste practice matches....They are just an eyewash.....The Real Test is when Indians face Vastly experienced Anderson,Broad,Fiery Jordan and Plunkett and Am really disappointed dat India will have to play these second string teams....It would have been better even if Indians had played among themselves a 9-a side match facing a better quality bowling of Bhuvi,shami,Aaron....etc.....I hope that Indian Batsmen dont underestimate the conditions by facing these Bowlers and must be Practicing hard to tackle the strong English attack.....Only +ve from these matches are some time in the middle and some Long spells for Bowlers other than that its just a waste....

  • POSTED BY GRVJPR on | June 27, 2014, 3:53 GMT

    @citizenkc, I don't know what you mean. India has to play against whatever team offered to them by ECB. You are speaking as if it is India who has chosen a weak team for practice. Please explain us what do you really mean??

  • POSTED BY GRVJPR on | June 27, 2014, 3:51 GMT

    @JustIPL, Dhoni is right and you are wrong. He tested his batsmen by batting on fresh deck and now he has two days (enough) to test his bowlers when the wicket is flat. You are absolutely wrong in your logic and thinking as always the case.

  • POSTED BY harry325 on | June 27, 2014, 3:09 GMT

    Agree 100% with Venkat, the internal decision of ECB to supply a second strong team for practice may backfire very badly for England. Indian team would have thanked their god after seeing their line up as they are coming after a long stay in sub-continent and what better for them get such practice on the first day of the tour.

  • POSTED BY ramz30380 on | June 27, 2014, 3:04 GMT

    Getting all batsmen to bat, and all ur bowlers to bowl, is a good strategy. I am sure MSD will field all his bowlers today. My only concern is tht honest assessment must be made and the playing XI must be chosen based on this.

    No favoritism, no priorities nothing. I think MSD will be the first one to understand tht his stint as India's test captain cud be over if his team doesnt make an impact in this series.

    If Vijay doesnt score in the next match, he must be dropped. GG must be picked. Likewise if a Pankaj Singh or an Ishwar Pandey bowl well, they must be chosen over Ishant Sharma. The better of the two spinners must be chosen.

    In short the playing XI for the first test must be chosen based on these 2 games and not on past performances! If India does tht, then there is a high chance of them leaving their mark on English soil.

  • POSTED BY JustIPL on | June 27, 2014, 3:00 GMT

    Why dhoni was so desperate to bat first when the bowling has been the main concern. Anyway, batting practice against the second rated bowling lineup of the lowly rated county doesnt mean much. Indian bowlers needed immediate workout and were denied by defensive dhoni. Dhoni has to play brave if there is any chance of earning upward trend at the end of this test series.

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2014, 2:45 GMT

    Why don't England field a full strength County side that is in form and has various foreign players? I'm sure they don't want to give them too much practice, but maybe defeating them pretty badly is also a good strategy? Either way must be fun to watch.

  • POSTED BY citizenkc on | June 27, 2014, 2:45 GMT

    I think Venkat makes a good point about this game increasing the team's confidence, but I think in the long run this strategy of playing second string county teams is not going to help. There is such a thing as false confidence. A strong test awaits India at the hands of a wounded team that has a lot to prove. England's bowling is far stronger than India's untested bowling attack. Ishant is too inconsistent, and in the absence of Zaheer there is no one to mentor the younger bowlers. Our overseas record is terrible. There is no Rahul Dravid to shepherd us and if Pujara and Kohli fail we are in trouble. Anyway, the long and short of it is that practice games should be taken seriously. When you play all your batters, you don't bat with any pressure. You know someone else will come in and pick up the slack. Practice games should simulate real life game situations as far as possible; otherwise, why not just do serious nets. Have some really good English bowlers come and bowl at you!

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | June 27, 2014, 2:41 GMT

    I think India have a very good chance to win this series. England are weak right now, and full of doubt. Cook is a mess, as a batsman and even worse captain. The ECB do not have the courage to drop him, so India have a great chance to come out punching and put Eng on the back foot right away.

    Eng have no spin bowling. Swann gone & they won't pick Monty. Prior has lost it as a keeper, and Broad & Anderson have lost a yard or two, and bowl more with the mouth than with the ball.

    Time to se if India can match Sri Lanka, or if they must live in the shadow of the little Island nation.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | June 27, 2014, 2:35 GMT

    @Naveenreddy Kotra- The pitches in England are drying just as the summer has arrived it will become more and more drier..England won't prepare greentops against India as their own batsmen are struggling on those pitches otherwise they would have prepared greentops for SL but they didn't.. Don't worry..They will prepare flat tracks again..They don't have the confidence to face quickies on a green wicket..Even if they prepare greentops, our batsmen are capable of playing on that as well and it will be great for our bowling attack.. Our young guns won't dissappoint us..

  • POSTED BY ThePacifist10 on | June 27, 2014, 2:30 GMT

    @wapuser

    You can make out from the photos of the match that the track had a green tint to it. On top of that the reports suggest the ball was swinging so it wasn't a flat track. Ireland, Atif and Pearson are good bowlers who can bowl fast and move the ball around. I'm sure our batsmen got some good practice. In any case, we were afraid of Steyn and Southee before we played them in their own backyard, and we handled them quite well! I don't think Broad will overwhelm our guys.

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | June 27, 2014, 2:30 GMT

    @ Arun Bose wrote "This is how you should start a tour.. With a bang!"

    Just hope India don't end it like they did their last Eng tour - with a whimper!

  • POSTED BY android_user on | June 27, 2014, 1:38 GMT

    nice practice. i will look forward for indians bowling attack which is main concern in england.

  • POSTED BY Samychennai on | June 27, 2014, 0:44 GMT

    Superb! This is good start for Indians and will give confidence to youth force. When I see the players list, looks like Dhoni wanted to give more practice for batsmen in this practice match. He may rotate bowlers in next practice match. Well done boys!

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | June 26, 2014, 22:25 GMT

    Good show by the boys. Top class batting. Make 400 and let Leics bat so that our bowlers can get some practice.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | June 26, 2014, 19:58 GMT

    This is how you should start a tour.. With a bang!

  • POSTED BY bootlicker on | June 26, 2014, 18:49 GMT

    Both IND and ENG have lost recent ODI s and T20 to SL. It is very difficult to say which team is stronger at present, if ENG used it's conditions well IND will be tumble down the ranking in no time. The best lesson ENG should learn from SL series is to use bowlers to take wickets according to the prevailing conditions effectively but not to intimidate batters too much.

  • POSTED BY docnav on | June 26, 2014, 18:41 GMT

    Gambhir and dhavn should open. With sehwag missing kohli pujara. And rohit have big responsibility. We must play both binny and jadeja along shami ishansnd bhuvnesh.

  • POSTED BY wapuser on | June 26, 2014, 18:34 GMT

    As an Indian fan I am happy for the performance of our batsman... But I think they gave us a flat track to practice... And i don't surprise if they(England) come up with the green pitch on the match day...

  • POSTED BY on | June 26, 2014, 18:32 GMT

    Next time England tours India, the BCCI should make sure they play their practice games against Tripura & Assam Ranji teams!

  • POSTED BY on | June 26, 2014, 18:32 GMT

    Next time England tours India, the BCCI should make sure they play their practice games against Tripura & Assam Ranji teams!

  • POSTED BY wapuser on | June 26, 2014, 18:34 GMT

    As an Indian fan I am happy for the performance of our batsman... But I think they gave us a flat track to practice... And i don't surprise if they(England) come up with the green pitch on the match day...

  • POSTED BY docnav on | June 26, 2014, 18:41 GMT

    Gambhir and dhavn should open. With sehwag missing kohli pujara. And rohit have big responsibility. We must play both binny and jadeja along shami ishansnd bhuvnesh.

  • POSTED BY bootlicker on | June 26, 2014, 18:49 GMT

    Both IND and ENG have lost recent ODI s and T20 to SL. It is very difficult to say which team is stronger at present, if ENG used it's conditions well IND will be tumble down the ranking in no time. The best lesson ENG should learn from SL series is to use bowlers to take wickets according to the prevailing conditions effectively but not to intimidate batters too much.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | June 26, 2014, 19:58 GMT

    This is how you should start a tour.. With a bang!

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | June 26, 2014, 22:25 GMT

    Good show by the boys. Top class batting. Make 400 and let Leics bat so that our bowlers can get some practice.

  • POSTED BY Samychennai on | June 27, 2014, 0:44 GMT

    Superb! This is good start for Indians and will give confidence to youth force. When I see the players list, looks like Dhoni wanted to give more practice for batsmen in this practice match. He may rotate bowlers in next practice match. Well done boys!

  • POSTED BY android_user on | June 27, 2014, 1:38 GMT

    nice practice. i will look forward for indians bowling attack which is main concern in england.

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | June 27, 2014, 2:30 GMT

    @ Arun Bose wrote "This is how you should start a tour.. With a bang!"

    Just hope India don't end it like they did their last Eng tour - with a whimper!

  • POSTED BY ThePacifist10 on | June 27, 2014, 2:30 GMT

    @wapuser

    You can make out from the photos of the match that the track had a green tint to it. On top of that the reports suggest the ball was swinging so it wasn't a flat track. Ireland, Atif and Pearson are good bowlers who can bowl fast and move the ball around. I'm sure our batsmen got some good practice. In any case, we were afraid of Steyn and Southee before we played them in their own backyard, and we handled them quite well! I don't think Broad will overwhelm our guys.