Indian spinners rule roost on Day 1 of warm-up match against WICB President's XI
Thirteen wickets fell on the first day’s play in the three-day warm-up match between India and West Indies Cricket Board President’s XI, with the three spinners from the visiting side accounting for eight of them. India bundled up the hosts for 180 in the 63rd over, before finishing the day at 93/3, trailing by 87 runs. KL Rahul (30* off 48 balls) has been India’s highest scorer, and Virat Kohli will join him in the middle when play resumes on Day 2.
Rohit Sharma and the pace trio of Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been rested for this match, with the four benched for the first game coming into the team in their place. Uncapped Mumbai pacer Shardul Thakur shared the new ball with Mohammed Shami as the hosts batted first, bowling a much superior line and length than his senior. His fourth over got the wicket of captain Leon Johnson, who fell to a short delivery.
Stuart Binny dismissed Shai Hope soon after, and Ravichandran Ashwin got into the act before lunch, picking up opener John Campbell. Ravindra Jadeja was the star of the second session, which also featured entertaining counter attacking batting from Jermaine Blackwood and Rahkeem Cornwall (41 off 56 balls). Jadeja claimed three scalps.
Interestingly, and there is no way to surmise if this practice will be followed in the official matches, KL Rahul took on wicketkeeping duties during this session. Rahul has occasionaly donned the gloves at the junior level, and in 4 List A matches and 4 IPL matches. He has had very little experience keeping to the red ball, however, having previously taken up the role very shortly on the tour of Sri Lanka last year with Saha suffering from a hamstring strain. This was the first time Rahul was keeping to the red ball without there being a compulsion for it.
The batsmen were finding Indian spin hard to tackle, lasting beyond tea only to be cleaned up in successive overs. Ashwin took two more wickets and Amit Mishra’s leg spin accounted for two.
Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan looked fluent in the first few overs, bringing up 34 runs within 10 overs. Both batsmen fell in similar fashion in the 11th and 12th overs however, in trying to cut deliveries that were too close to the body, falling to Chemar Holder and Jason Dawes respectively. KL Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara came together for a 59-run partnership, which was broken on the last ball of the day, Pujara bowled by Cornwall. Both Rahul and Pujara looked comfortable in their stays, both raising their strike rates above 65 wih the spinners coming on.