Derbyshire v Indians, Derby, 1st day July 1, 2014

Mild pace concerns for India on low-key day


Derbyshire 326 for 5 (Durston 95, Godleman 67*, Jadeja 2-27) v Indians

Mohammed Shami didn't bowl, Ishant Sharma bowled no-balls, and three batsmen who have not been finding a place in the Derbyshire first XI - one who is yet to make his first-class debut - scored fifties on the first day of India's second and last tour game before the Test series begins.

Shami sat out on the first day with a mild strain to his left calf. Ishant officially overstepped nine times in 12 overs, but there were quite a few deliveries that might have been reviewed if they had taken a wicket in a Test. Wes Durston scored a 90-ball 95 to liven up an otherwise dull day, Harvey Hosein improved massively on his previous best of 16 in 10 matches for Derbyshire 2nd XI with a stroke-filled unbeaten 53 off 89 balls, and the left-hand pair of Ben Slater and Billy Godleman chipped in with patient half-centuries to take Derbyshire to 326 for 5 at stumps. In two bowling days in their warm-up games, the Indians have conceded 675 for 10 wickets in 152 overs.

India do not take these three-day games overly seriously, but they will have mild concerns around their likely first-choice Test seam attack. Shami might just be the biggest. He has been receiving special attention from the medical staff since Monday. The rest of the quicks were given an intensive workout on Monday, but he stayed away to be tended to by physio Evan Speechly and trainer Sudharshan MV. The official word from the team is that the strain is mild, and he should be available to bowl in the second innings.

The intensity with which the Indians played would have meant no second innings, but the teams seem to have agreed on batting only 90 overs in their first innings, and 45 each on the final day. Indications remained that Ishant will be used as a first-change bowler in the Tests; the new ball in Shami's absence was taken by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Pankaj Singh. Bhuvneshwar, likely to open the bowling at Trent Bridge, failed to consistently pitch it up to extract his trademark movement either way.

Ishant's no-balls must be a bigger cause for worry. He kept adding regularly to the seven he had bowled in Leicester last week. Perhaps more worrying was umpire George Sharp's reluctance to lift his right arm. You could see, sitting square on in the press box, that Ishant flirted with the crease much more often, and got away with a few tight ones. This will only do him harm. Until he is called on these indiscretions, he will keep thinking he is all right, until one wicket-taking delivery in a Test is sent upstairs to take away the strike.

When he did not overstep, Ishant did what he does often: bowl a mixed bag - a half-volley here, a short-and-wide one there, and the odd unplayable delivery to keep the batsmen honest. Length remained an issue for most of India's quicks. Durston, who has not played a first-class game since the last week of April, pulled and cut in his counterattack after Ravindra Jadeja had taken two quick wickets either side of lunch to reduce Derbyshire to 115 for 4. Durston showed he was strong square of the wicket, and the Indians kept feeding him. Pankaj, who had taken the first wicket of the day, went for 20 in one over after tea, all through pulls. When he could not play either of those shots, Durston pulled out the ramp over the slips.

To be fair to the Indians, it was a flat pitch and quite a few edges fell short. With no result to push for in a non-first-class match, 17 players took turns being on the field, batting in the nets, or receiving attention from the staff. Wriddhiman Saha kept in the first and third sessions to allow MS Dhoni some time to field and some to have a hit in the nets.

The focus on the field remained long spells. Bhuvneshwar bowled nine overs in his first spell, Pankaj eight, and Ishant nine with no maiden and 41 runs conceded. They came back to bowl only towards the end of the day. Varun Aaron, Ishwar Pandey and Stuart Binny bowled shorter spells. Jadeja looked the likeliest to get wickets; he did get two to be 2 for 8 after his first seven overs, but then he took a bit of tap from Durston to end with figures of 11-3-27-2. R Ashwin, who seems likely to sit out of the first Test, bowled only seven overs, and had a sharp chance dropped by Virat Kohli at first slip.

Durston, Hosein, Slater and Godleman, though, used the day as a perfect opportunity to stake claims to places in the first XI of a fledgling side. They weren't complaining about what might be perceived as low intensity from the Indians. Durston said it was definitely a step up for him, and that the competition was possibly diluted because the Indians wanted to give each of their bowlers a go. It was almost as if the Indians put a new team on the field in every session, he said.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Iraj on July 3, 2014, 17:58 GMT

    This is just a practice match and Indians are just warming up. I'm pretty sure that India do very well in the real tests. Indian fast bowlers would be a huge threat for English batsmen. Jaddu bowl very well and its high time for Ashwin to improve his weakened overseas record. I didn't see anything wrong with batting lineup mentored by Dravid. Bowlers need some time to adjust to the situation. They bowl well at nets & just doing some experiments while preventing possible injuries at practice matches. They will comeback very strongly when the first test begins. The first test will be quite tough one for Indians and a draw is possible; but they will come back strongly in the next ones. Good Luck guys. Make your neighbours proud. Cheers

  • MAHENDRA on July 2, 2014, 17:30 GMT

    Ishant Sharma should include for the team. Because of his height he can get bounce from English wicket. Even though he is bit expensive in practice games he will perform in tests. He is the only previous England experience bowler from present bunch.

  • piyush on July 2, 2014, 17:29 GMT

    I think dhoni will drop rahane/sharma and will go with binny. Thus binny jadeja +3 pacers +6 batsmen will be the team format this time...

  • Dinesh on July 2, 2014, 17:23 GMT

    Praveen Kumar would have been included instead of Bhuneshwar Kumar becauase Praveen has very good record for five or six test.

  • Dummy4 on July 2, 2014, 17:02 GMT

    OK Best Team for the first test: 1.G.Gambhir 2.A.Rahane/S.Dhawan 3.C.Pujara 4.V.Kohli 5.S.Binny 6.MS Dhoni (wk)(c) 7.R.Jadeja 8.R.Ashwin 9.B.Kumar 10.M.Shami 11.V.Aaron/ P.Singh

  • Dummy4 on July 2, 2014, 17:01 GMT

    Bhuvneshwar Kumar has only 9 wickets in 6 test matches with an average of 37.88 A BIG REASON TO WORRY

  • Muthuvel on July 2, 2014, 16:53 GMT

    Good knock from Binny and Jadeja

  • Aravind on July 2, 2014, 16:53 GMT

    Well, i checked both tour matches and i came up the selection for first test :-

    1 Rahane, 2 Gambhir, 3 Pujara, 4 Kohli, 5 Binny, 6 Jadeja, 7 Dhoni, 8 B Kumar, 9 M Shami, 10 Pankaj, 11 Aaron

    Pls. no ishant...he will leak more runs and make our bowling weak...I think England players will regain form back if ishant plays....i am so surprised he still evident you can see how he bowled in tour matches....I think this lineup i predict will do well as a team...

    Also, we should have bowling coach to trainer our bowlers and bowl in right areas and length...

    Example, how SL played well against England...we should follow similar style how they played and won the word, be confident with our bowlers that can take 20 wickets...

  • Ramya on July 2, 2014, 16:37 GMT

    Ok... now with Binny performing with the bat as well.... MSD will be more than tempted to take him ahead of Rohit/Rahane, play with 2 spinners and 4 pacers!

    Vijay/GG, Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli, Binny, MSD, SRJ, Ashwin, Bhuvi, Shami, Pankaj/Pandey - this will be ideal - Binny is a proper batsman who can bowl medium pacers, SRJ & Ashwin are no mucks with the bat (I actually rate Ashwin higher than SRJ when it comes to batting in test cricket, his avg is there to show).

    This way MSD will have 5 proper batsmen, 1 pace bowling all-rounder, 2 spin bowling allrounders and 3 genuine pacers! - A complete package! I know it will not b fair on Rahane or Rohit but this will be best for India!

  • Ishaan on July 2, 2014, 15:55 GMT

    @GRVJPR Oh!, perhaps you didn't see his 96 against south africa where your patient openers gave us a great start and the middle order hid him and it was because of him India lost? And What about New Zealand, he scored an almost match winning 118 which was overshadowed by brendon just because of the bowlers. Maybe you last saw playing on his Odi debut? He is Better than both murali vijay,Shikhar Dhawan and also so called elegant player who oozes talent, Rohit Sharma

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