Mumbai A v England XI, Mumbai, 2nd day

Pujara, Shah make England sweat

Amol Karhadkar

November 4, 2012

Comments: 35 | Text size: A | A

Mumbai A 232 for 4 (Pujara 87, Shah 84*) trail England XI 345 for 9 dec (Bairstow 118, Morgan 76, Patel 60) by 113 runs

Cheteshwar Pujara scored a half-century, Mumbai A v England XI, 2nd day, Mumbai, November 4, 2012
Cheteshwar Pujara gave England a tough day in the field before falling 13 short of a hundred © Getty Images

A week after arriving in India for what has been billed as the "final frontier" for the England Test team, their bowlers were given the chance to bowl to a potential top-order India batsman. They learnt how much a missed opportunity in the field could cost them as Cheteshwar Pujara, one of two contenders for the No. 3 slot in India's batting line-up, made most of his life to score 87 for Mumbai A on the second day of the warm-up game at the Dr DY Patil Sports Stadium.

Thanks to Pujara's accomplished but understated innings and his 163-run association for the third wicket with left-hander Hiken Shah, Mumbai A ended the day at 232 for 4 in response to England XI's 343 for 9 declared.

Despite being a Saurashtra player, Pujara was asked to join the Mumbai A team along with Delhi's Shikhar Dhawan on the recommendation of the national selection panel. While the newly married Dhawan failed to celebrate by making the opportunity count, Pujara achieved his primary objective - that of spending some quality time at the crease - during his 262-minute knock.

England, on the other hand, were at less than 100%, with the seamers preferring to bowl within themselves for most of the day. To add to their difficulties, Stuart Broad did not bowl after tea and was sent for a scan on a heel injury after the close of play.

The tourists' spin duo of Monty Panesar and part-time offspinner Joe Root could hardly extract anything off a slow wicket. As a result, after dismissing both the openers before lunch, England XI went wicketless for almost four hours. The most disappointing aspect for England was their slack fielding, which included a missed catch off Pujara's edge early on in the second session.

Had James Anderson not dropped the "genuine edge" - as admitted by the batsman - off Panesar's bowling, England could have been more aggressive in conditions that were of little help to bowlers. Mumbai A were 60 for 2 then, with Pujara on 22. But by the time Pujara was dismissed 13 runs short of a century in an identical manner minutes before stumps, the damage had been done.

While Pujara resisted playing shots for a better part of his innings, the cuts and drives started flowing once he crossed fifty. He took 140 balls to reach his half-century but the next 37 runs came off just 44 balls.

"The pitch was on the slower side, but that's going to be the case in Indian conditions," Pujara said. "This match gave me a chance to get used to the actions of the England bowlers, have a look at their strengths, what kind of swing they're trying to bowl against me and what kind of strategy they would use. I could get a little idea about these things. It won't be the same in Tests though, because the intensity will be on the higher side. England's fielding was not quite up to the mark in this match but it will be much better in the Tests.

"Patience is my strength. The runs I've scored in this practice match were not the key. I wanted to be at the crease as long as possible and have a look at all the bowlers."

With focus firmly on Pujara's battle against the England attack, Shah played a fluent knock. Despite making his first-class debut five seasons ago, the 27-year-old has failed to establish himself as a permanent fixture in the Mumbai middle order but this knock could well be a step forward in helping establish him in the Mumbai line-up.

An inauspicious start with the bat set the tone for England XI for the rest of the day, as they added just seven runs for the loss of three wickets to their overnight 338 for 6, before declaring. The early breakthroughs with the ball were made by Graham Onions, seeking to tug the selectors by the sleeve after Steven Finn's injury, and Root but late wickets for Panesar and Anderson couldn't prevent it from being England's toughest day on tour so far.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by yoogi on (November 5, 2012, 11:34 GMT)

My heart goes out for Hiken Shah! hope he gets a permanant place in Ranji in some other state and a place in IPL too.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (November 5, 2012, 11:08 GMT)

@JG, @Villagebacksmith - In 2010 it looked like Stuart Broad had made the breakthrough and would be pushing is case to bat at 7 or, maybe, even at 6 at some time in the future. Since that 176 he has averaged 24.1 with the bat (18.7 in the last year), albeit with 3x50 (in 18 Tests!), but he has taken 75 wickets @ 26.8, which is a decent effort, but is now batting at 9, behind Bres. It's a pity, because were he able to continue to average around 30, as Alan Knott did, it adds a lot of flexibility to the selection of bowlers. As it is, I am not sure that a potential tail of Broad, Swann, Anderson, Monty and Finn would be a match-winner were we to go with 5 specialist bowlers instead of Samit + four.

Posted by Damo_s on (November 5, 2012, 10:55 GMT)

I think I'd rather see Bresnan in full time over Broad. He has not been great for some time now and has a habit of losing the plot when conditions arent favourable or things are not going his way. Whilst he appeared successful against Pakistan in the UAE I dont think the Pakstan batting line up was particularly strong where as the Indian batting line up is far better. He will definately struggle against world class batsmen in their home conditions. In my opinion Broad needs to go back to county cricket for a while and sort out his bowling and batting.

Posted by JG2704 on (November 5, 2012, 9:22 GMT)

@VillageBlacksmith on (November 04 2012, 21:17 PM GMT) I'm a big Broad fan but agree with you. If he was doing special things inbetween his injuries then fair enough keep him out there but esp if we're only ever going to play 4 bowlers with the possibility of only 2 pacemen then Broad is a liability. As for Bell - don't you know he took 4 catches the other day and averages 111 vs WI , but seriously I think he was something like 6th best batsman vs SL , 7th best vs SA and even worse - averaging less than 10 - vs Pakistan and his last test series in India wasn't exactly fruitful either. They probably are 2 of our golden boys who will forever get picked regardless of how they are playing

Posted by csr11 on (November 5, 2012, 5:53 GMT)

good show by Pujara - he looks like someone who has the makings of a good test player..

as for england.. its an interesting conundrum.. damned if you play samit and damned if you dont..

Should be an interesting series.

Posted by MattyP1979 on (November 5, 2012, 3:15 GMT)

Eng team still looks very good. This should be a really good test series. I suppose the really big question is how will Eng batsman fair against quality spin. If they do learn from mistakes in the past this could actually be a real struggle for Ind. If not Ind never ending home advantage may prove to be too much. Cook/Trott/KP need to have a good series.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 5, 2012, 0:25 GMT)

There's always plenty of people ready to read far too much into tour wramup matches one way or the other. Such games are about getting used to conditions and trying different combinations and the like. They cannot be used either way to predict how a tour will go. They can offer encouragement or discouragement but nothing more. That said, there's not a great deal of encouragement to be had for us England fans from this match so far. Another bowler possibly lost and none of the bowlers having much success against what could not be considered strong opposition. Maybe there's not much in the pitch but then our batsmen should have done better in that case. The question of who to open with Cook is no closer to being resolved either. It's even hard to take too much from the good batting performances there have been because the conditions are so different to what will be encountered in the Test series. I'm hoping that it's just a lack of intensity that will change when the real battle begins.

Posted by   on (November 4, 2012, 23:47 GMT)

Put ur bets on England avoiding follow on in the test series:)

Posted by   on (November 4, 2012, 22:08 GMT)

to S-A-M-1994 - this is not an Indian A side, but its Mumbai A side, which means this team features bench players of Mumbai guess you mean the future of England looks very bleak

Posted by   on (November 4, 2012, 22:05 GMT)

Oh my god, this is a second string Mumbai side with just one test capped player and still England struggle. This is just the curtain raiser of the coming days for England in India,

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (November 4, 2012, 21:17 GMT)

broad hasn't scored a decent run all year, and his bowling seems to also be going backwards month by month... send him home (along with bell) & just save him for ponting next year.

Posted by mikey76 on (November 4, 2012, 20:19 GMT)

Again dropped catches really hampering the side. Instead of pushing for victory we were left sweating in the field all day. Need to stop droppin catches!

Posted by Nutcutlet on (November 4, 2012, 19:45 GMT)

@Cpt. Meanster: Greetings! I agree with every word you say! These practice games are important, maybe not in terms of result, but players on both sides are striving for places in their respective Test line-ups, so no one should be regarding these matches as a stroll in the park. All tours should have three warm-up games (& I would prefer two of them to be 4 day) so that when the real business begins, everyone knows that both teams are presenting themselves fully prepared for what lies ahead. Test cricket needs to be taken very seriously indeed; it is, after all, the highest form of cricket -- the one that makes or breaks reputations that will live on in the history of our game. No fc cricketer can regard himself as having an enduring reputation unless he has performed with distinction at the highest (i.e. Test) level & against the sternest of opposition. That is why both England & Australia place such emphasis on Ashes' series. It is our gold standard & always will be.

Posted by ashes61 on (November 4, 2012, 19:10 GMT)

The term "warm-up match" is misleading & the adjective "only" certainly indicates a dangerous attitude. Because there is a precedent (early part of the 2010/11 Ashes tour) we can be certain Flower will ensure everyone takes these 1st class fixtures very seriously indeed. I'm presuming Mumbai is much hotter than late 2010 in AUS (unseasonally cool & wet) so I wouldn't think the field can tear around with quite so much abandon & I'm sure the bats are concentrating on long crease occupation rather than sprinting every 2 or 3. But the 2010 lead-up is a crucial guide to Flower's thinking, and he was certainly proved right then. The ENG Test side was settled then, but now there are at least 3 positions up for grabs, with 6 or7 players after them. These games are VERY valuable - 3 days each, 1st class, no 12/13 a side nonsense & the need for as many as possible to get a couple of games & find some form. And, of course, learn fast in Indian heat & conditions - an absolutely vital 9 days play.

Posted by   on (November 4, 2012, 19:05 GMT)

3 day matches..uhh! Practice match...?? Do they think crowd are stupid ? What's the point of organizing 3 day matches when everyone knows 99/100 would end up in a draw. Better to have a 3 day match with 1 inning per side. Plus what's this crazy hype about 'match practice' before the real match. Are India and England players club level cricketers that they need a cushion... c'mon let some sanity prevail.

Posted by JG2704 on (November 4, 2012, 19:02 GMT)

Disappointing day for our bowlers but well played the Mumbai batsmen. I've got to try and be as consistent with my selections as I can and I'd still have Mony and Onions in there if we're playing a 5/1/5 formation with my other bowlers being Bres,Jimmy and Swann. If we're playing 6/1/4 then if Monty doesn't find his rhythm then I guess we'd have to go with Patel above him although I think Patel is doing enough as a batsmen to get in a 5/1/5 formation or a 6/1/4. As for warm up matches - of course they mean something ,all the players (esp those not nailed on) will be trying to seal their place in the side but while some of our fans were advised to cool it with the optimism after our side did fairly well vs the India A side surely if Mumbai A are a lesser team than India A then it proves the theory that doing well against one team doesn't mean that the team will automatically do better vs a lesser team and vice versa

Posted by LetThereBeLogic on (November 4, 2012, 18:39 GMT)

Pleased with Pujara's performance. I think Mumbai A are in a good position to take a lead over England and if that happens it would be psychological victory for Mumbai A. Loss of 4th wicket did not do any good to Mumbai A though...

Posted by warneneverchuck on (November 4, 2012, 18:22 GMT)

ENG beware tendulakr already scoring runs and young guns finding form

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (November 4, 2012, 17:40 GMT)

@yorkshirematt, neither of these games has had any really chance of a result. 3 days on flat pitches and yesterday we didn't even get all the overs in with occasional bowlers sending down a lot of overs towards the end. 270 overs is very little to get a result and, if overs are lost, the chances are even slimmer. About the only chance is pushing for an innings victory and even then one side has to play appallingly badly to make it possible. A few years ago county sides were expected to get through 117 overs in a day. With 90 overs per day you lose the equivalent of almost 3 sessions of play even in just 3 days.

Posted by S-A-M-1994 on (November 4, 2012, 17:05 GMT)

Future of India's test cricket looks bleak .

Posted by   on (November 4, 2012, 16:55 GMT)

I watched it in the stadium. Seems there were some ego issues between English players though broad was trying to resolve things.

Posted by Nampally on (November 4, 2012, 16:38 GMT)

Pleased to see fine innings by Pujara & Shah. Pujara's innings & form should boost India's hope of stability in their batting line up. More importantly, Pujara got a preview of the England bowling - only Swann missing. England bowling was not effective. Unfortunately Dhawan did not capitalize with a big score. The Irony is that Mumbai A team with all juniurs kept England on the field for almost whole day losing only 4 wkts. A challenge for India to match this performance in the tests series. Gambhir, Sehwag, Kohli & Tendulkar also had good batting practice in other Ranji games. These guys will likely form the top 5 batting spots. It was good to see these guys playing to get into match form & shape. Yadev & Irfan Pathan did well amongst the bowling prospects & should be in XI. Ashwin & Ojha did not stand out for their teams. Nadeem was the best left arm spinner with M.Kartik also amongst wkts. It is nice to see all test prospects were playing to be ready for the First Test.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (November 4, 2012, 16:36 GMT)

@Meanster, today I would certainly agree with you: this was a very poor England performance. Monty certainly has done himself no favours today with the ball and the attack in general looked insipid. I would take issue with you on one point though: warm-up games, unless a disaster, really do not give a true indication of ability (witness South Africa in England last summer, for example, who were nothing special in the warm-ups). This was very much less of an England Test XI than the first match and it showed. On form so far, Bresnan and Swann are definitely key members of the attack and I am a little concerned about Anderson's lack of impact. Onions will be lethal in New Zealand, but does not look like he will prosper too much in India at present.

Posted by o-bomb on (November 4, 2012, 16:22 GMT)

Really pleased for Hiken Shah. I hope this helps him get back in the Mumbai team for the Ranji Trophy this season. As for England - this has been a disappointing day. We need to put in a better performance tomorrow.

Posted by yorkshirematt on (November 4, 2012, 16:06 GMT)

You can say they're only practise matches but cast your minds back to 2010 and Australia. England turned up wanting to win every match and won against WA and Aus A, setting the tone for that glorious series. This build up could not be more different.

Posted by Rajesh_india_1990 on (November 4, 2012, 14:47 GMT)

Poor display by England against the third grade mumbai team..i think it is going to be a miserable tour for them...

Posted by   on (November 4, 2012, 14:02 GMT)

These tour matches are nothing but shadow boxing. Indian practice teams fielding second string (except for Pujara & Dhawan) players and England playing within themselves, one can't judge anything about what is going to happen in the tests. Pujara is right in saying that he used this opportunity to have a little better understanding of the English bowlers, their actions, and strategies to dismiss /contain him. Nothing more!

Posted by Naresh28 on (November 4, 2012, 13:52 GMT)


Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (November 4, 2012, 12:59 GMT)

Yup, not surprised one bit. Our young guns are doing a MAGNIFICENT job in handling the English team. Makes me very pleased. Well played Cheteshwar Pujara, a wonderful talent and the possible future WALL of Indian middle order. Exciting times indeed. England's performance this game is not impressive by any means. Their supporters will argue it's only a practice game but I beg to disagree. Practice games are fair indicators of a team's ability to cope with conditions. When India toured England last year, they got hammered by an ordinary Somerset team. That set the precedent for the remainder of the series. India never recovered throughout their stay in England. These tour games do matter and the more a visiting team plays, the better. I hope the BCCI schedules proper tour games for India when they travel to SA next year.

Posted by   on (November 4, 2012, 12:31 GMT)

Keep it up, Pujara. His partnership with Shah was revealing

Posted by Sobhan_Sachinfan on (November 4, 2012, 12:29 GMT)

Good show of talent by Pujara and Shah. I think wonderful contest is on the cards between India and England. I wish Shewag and Sachin also fire in tests so that England will feel the heat this time.

Posted by praveen4honestremark on (November 4, 2012, 12:22 GMT)

BCCI and Indian team don't leave any gap for England at the corner, they should not escape the "brutal punches" from Indian team. Well played Mumbai. Keep up the good play, and try to get 450-500 score. Period.

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (November 4, 2012, 12:13 GMT)

the big news is that both sehwag & zaheer have been injured while playing ranji matches . for me sehwag ' s injury can be a blessing in disguise as it will give chance to some other youngster like rahane to open but zaheer 's injury will be a bit of concern .

Posted by jackiethepen on (November 4, 2012, 12:02 GMT)

Poor captaincy not to declare overnight. We've heard talk from locals about how the early start at 9.30 a.m. affects the batting side and gives advantage to the bowlers. We should have put Mumbai A in straight away. Instead our tail struggled in the conditions. Nice one Broad.

Posted by QingdaoXI on (November 4, 2012, 12:00 GMT)

Well Played Pujara and Shah, English players were looking clueless while bowling to this pair. Hiken Shah who doesnt found place in Mumbai 1st XI is playing very well, what would have happen if Mumbai were not Playing Ranji match and had only this match with Players Like, Tendulkar, Rahane, Rohit, Jaffer, Nayar, Agarkar, Zaheer, Kulkarni, Abdulla, Harmeet, and many more to add. At ther end of the day, English bowlers would have come to terms during this partnership that it will be hard for them to break patnerships and will have to toil for lot of overs when they come to Ahmedabad and Play a real cricket on 15th of this Month.

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