Andrew Strauss pulls during his 80
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A tepid final day at Chelmsford produced an expected result with the Indians' second practice match ending in a high-scoring draw. England Lions' batsmen made the most of a good batting pitch in their second innings, rattling up 227 for 2 in effortless fashion before the Indians played out 20 overs before stumps.
The Lions ended the day with more positives: Andrew Strauss, under-fire for his poor run of scores, spent a valuable 155 minutes out in the middle, Stuart Broad celebrated his Test call-up with a five-wicket haul while Owais Shah helped himself to a confident 77.
The Indian bowling continued to struggle on a featherbed of a pitch and Rahul Dravid may not have too many dilemmas while choosing his bottom four for the first Test. Ishant Sharma's struggles, along with Ranadeb Bose's insipid showing in the previous match, leaves RP Singh as the clear favourite for the third-seamer slot.
England too would have probably settled on their third seamer for the opening Test, with Broad cleaning up the tail with pace and movement. He hit the deck hard and induced a couple of edges from the tailenders before uprooting Mahendra Singh Dhoni's off stump. He didn't lose his head when Dhoni was swishing violently and simply stuck to the basics to breach his defences. With three wickets, along with those of Dinesh Karthik and Yuvraj Singh yesterday, he might have booked himself a Test debut at Lord's in three days' time.
"He's impressed everyone with his ability with the ball as well as his character," said Strauss of Broad's effort. "For a young guy he knows what his gameplan is like and he's did a great job on a flat wicket here. I think he'll hope to play his first Test"
Strauss, a Lord's debutant himself, would count himself lucky to have won the toss, giving himself a couple of chances to regain form ahead of the series, starting Thursday. He failed in the first innings but made amends with a fluent 80 today, driving confidently down the ground and suggesting a return to the good days. The ball did occasionally beat the outside edge of the bat but Strauss overcame those jitters to compile a timely half-century. It's almost a year since he reached three figures in Tests but he now heads off to his favourite ground, one where he averages 61.5, with three hundreds and two fifties.
Shah, another who fell cheaply in the first innings, also made the most of his second chance, grinding out 77 against an attack that began with purpose but ended as lollypop. The sight of Yuvraj Singh imitating Ravi Shastri with his left-arm spinners and Dinesh Karthik alternating between offspin and legbreaks summed up the day's play, one where batsmen didn't have to struggle for returns.
Bad light forced an early tea but an early finish didn't materialise; instead Karthik lashed a merry half-century, that included eight fours, to ready himself for the Test series. Jaffer posted his highest score of the tour, though he'd like to do better than 22 when he faces England's bowlers in a few days.
"I don't think a result was possible given what had happened in the first two days' play," said Strauss. "So we wanted to bat for a long period of time before our bowlers had a short stint. The Indians talked overnight about setting something up but there wasn't a realistic chance once we didn't bowl them out early."
Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is an assistant editor of Cricinfo