Compton states case with half-century
England XI 345 for 9 dec (Bairstow 118, Morgan 76, Patel 60) and 149 for 2 (Compton 64*) drew with Mumbai A 286 (Pujara 87, Shah 92)
As is the case with most three-day first-class games in India, there wasn't much at stake in terms of the result between the visiting England XI and Mumbai A at the Dr DY Patil Sports Stadium. But winning or losing was the last thing on everyone's mind in the England camp, for this game anyway, and they made full use of their last day in Mumbai on all counts.
After Graham Onions - just like James Anderson the previous evening - struck in his first over with the second new ball, the left-arm spin duo of Monty Panesar and Samit Patel didn't take long to dislodge the lower order; opener Nick Compton finally managed to occupy the crease for well over three ours - albeit against mediocre bowling; and, most importantly, Stuart Broad, who needed a scan on his heel on Sunday, was not just back on the field in the morning but also was cleared of a serious injury.
So, as the England camp wrapped up the first of their three Mumbai legs on the India tour, they would have been feeling slightly better than they were coming in to the game. Compton, who remained unbeaten on 64 when the teams shook hands, said there had been "a number of good performances" over the last week.
"[Alastair] Cook has got a hundred, [Jonny] Bairstow has got a hundred, Samit has batted consistently well," he said. "Panesar's bowling was accurate, exceptional. I do feel that some batsmen have played well and that does bode well."
After dismissing the remaining six Mumbai batsmen for 46 runs, England scored 149 for 2 in 52 overs - 22 of which were bowled by part-time bowlers. Compton, who was dismissed for 0 and 1 in his first two innings on tour, finally managed to get it right and helped raise England's highest opening partnership so far. Joe Root, who started off as impressively as in the first innings, fell shouldering arms to a Shardul Thakur delivery that came in and rapped him on the pads with the score on 38 but Compton carried on to get a more substantial feel of batting in Indian conditions.
And he was candid in admitting how difficult it is to concentrate on a day when there's nothing much at stake.
"Mentally it's quite challenging. It was a bit of a challenge when they brought on a couple of spinners who probably don't bowl that much in first-class cricket," Compton said. "But it's about having the right attitude in these situations, every single ball, every single minute is important. Especially for me, having missed out in the first game. It's more of a mental battle, getting back to run-scoring mode. The opposition wasn't brilliant at the end, but they bowled quite accurately in the first hour."
In the morning, Mumbai A's Hiken Shah, who started the day 16 runs shy of a deserved century, started off with two well-timed boundaries off Onions. However, the left-hander was then caught in two minds about whether to play at a ball that was going down leg and edged it to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow. Naturally, he was disappointed to have missed out on a hundred and stood his ground in disbelief before taking the long walk back. Panesar and Patel then made short work of the tail, picking off the last five Mumbai A wickets for 22 runs off 41 balls.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo