Virat Kohli and team sweat it out in the nets before crucial Bengaluru clash
After suffering the ignominy of a 333-run loss, their speeding juggernaut coming to a shuddering stop in Pune, the Indian team had their first net session after landing in the city of Bengaluru, three days before the start of the second Test. Putting a rest to their gloom, bright sunshine and clear skies welcomed the Indian team at the M.Chinnaswamy stadium, the venue for the second round of the four-match series, and the centre of attention as both teams took turns to get a feel of the conditions.
The team was led to the main grounds by head coach Anil Kumble, who had a good look at the surface, taking his time to assess the pitch that had a visible tinge of green on it. There wasn’t much fun or laughter throughout the whole session, but a clear intensity to go about their business, slowly hatching their plans to forge a comeback in the series.
The session started with the Indian contingent warming up on the sidelines, except captain Virat, who took separate throw-downs in the main nets.
Importance being given to fielding
With the rest of the team done with their light exercises, they moved on to the main nets to have a go, with Kohli moved on to the vacant spaces to kickstart a close-catching session He stood at a virtual leg-slip position to a left-handed support staff, gobbling up everything that was edged towards him. The disappointment of a dropped catch, even in simulated conditions, was evident when he failed to latch on to a difficult chance.
Wriddhiman Saha was next in line, standing close to the stumps and simulating stumping chances, and then loosening up by taking catches: testing himself to the limit under the sweltering sun. After the two, it was Ajinkya Rahane’s chance to sharpen his close catching skills.
Kumble rolls his arm over
Anil Kumble and Ravichandran Ashwin, along with rookie chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, then bowled in tandem in one of the nets, testing Cheteshwar Pujara with their variety. The trio would make such a deadly combination!
NCA boys attend India’s net session
Hardik Pandya and Jayant Yadav, meanwhile, were one of the first ones to have a knock, facing young bowlers in the side nets, while the rest of the batsmen padded up to face the Indian bowlers in the main nets.
Mohammed Shami, recuperating from a knee injury, made a surprise appearance at the nets, joining the Indian team as they went about their business earnestly. Axar Patel also entered the practice area, having seemed to have just landed in the city. Ravindra Jadeja, however, was conspicuous by his absence.
While the men’s team was busy with their business, women’s team stars Jhulan Goswami and Smriti Mandhana quietly made their way to the KSCA rehabilitation centre, the latter walking on crutches after having suffered a knee injury that truncated her BBL stint earlier this year.
Kohli takes on all-pace attack
Kohli then faced the trio of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma in the main nets, with the likes of Ajinkya Rahane and Murali Vijay batting on either side. Apart from the three Indian pacers, Kohli also faced the bowling of a left-arm net bowler, who was bowling at an angle to the Indian batsman, mimicking the style of Aussie speedster Mitchell Starc.
After packing up, the Indian team made their way to the main grounds for a session of cooling down. Cheteshwar Pujara was one of the last ones to leave the ground, sprinting around the park with the staff, even while the rest of the team made way for the tourists to come and practice. Rohit Sharma, who is currently at the NCA, also made a small visit to the ground, but was back in the rehabilitation centre before the Australia team set foot, where he took pictures with the likes of Dhawal Kulkarni, Amit Mishra and Mohammed Shami.