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Team India hit the nets immediately after touchdown at Southampton

ANALYST
News
3.00K   //    27 Aug 2018, 23:35 IST

England & India Net Sessions
The Indian contingent ahead of a net session

The third Test of the Specsavers England-India series concluded in the early playing hours on 22nd August, and the next Test match was not until eight days later. But after a five-day break, the Indian team returned to training on Monday, with three more days left for the fourth contest at the Ageas Rose Bowl in Southampton.

Virat Kohli and his team arrived in Southampton on Monday afternoon after a couple of days of relaxing in London, savouring their winning moments from the Trent Bridge game. They had eclipsed the hosts by a good margin of 203 runs, and reduced the series deficit to 1-2, with two more matches to go.

As soon as they arrived at the venue, they straightaway hit the nets, with the team hotel at the other end of town overlooking the Southampton harbour.

Over the past week, most of the focus was on the two new additions for the last couple of games - U-19 World Cup-winning skipper Prithvi Shaw, and Hanuma Vihari. The duo is yet to make their debuts in international cricket, and they were first put through the paces inside the grounds in a fielding drill.

Besides Shaw and Vihari, Jasprit Bumrah and newly-selected Karun Nair were part of the fielding drills conducted by R Sridhar, the fielding coach.

Off-spinner R Ashwin, who struggled with an adductor muscle injury in the third Test, didn't look fully fit, and it was evident from his participation in the nets. He just did some light jogging as physical trainer Shankar Basu monitored him, and later batted against some throw-downs. He did not bowl.

The top four batsmen hit the nets first. They were followed by the 18-year-old Shaw, who looked in decent nick when he batted in tandem with Vihari.

Though India holds the upper hand right now in the series, they need to try their very best to keep themselves in the series. The side does not have fond memories of playing in Southampton either - they played only once, on the 2014 tour, when they lost by 266 runs, with James Anderson picking up seven scalps to be eventually named Man-of-the-Match.

Southampton has been experiencing hot weather of late, but damp conditions have surfaced after the past two days of rain. With two days available for the pitch to get dry, India may hope that Ashwin regains fitness, though the pitch appears to favour pace and swing, especially if conditions remain overcast.

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