India yet again produced a listless bowling performance as Derbyshire piled up 326 for five at stumps of the first day of their second tour game ahead of five-match Test series against England, in Derbyshire on Tuesday.
Billy Godleman (67 not out of 159 balls, 8x4s) and 17-year-old Harvey Hossein (53 not out of 89 balls, 8x4s) were at the crease at the end of opening day’s play.
The only bright spark for the visitors was the first hour of the lunch session when Ravindra Jadeja (2/27) and Ishwar Pandey (1/34) bowled well in tandem to pick up three quick wickets.
Jadeja only bowled one spell in the middle session and that was when Indian looked in control. But on either side of his spell, Derbyshire batsmen made merry while the sun shone bright all day, accumulating runs at ease. In the post-tea session, the hosts scored 140 runs in 34 overs.
Wes Durston scored 95 runs off just 90 balls, hitting 14 fours and two sixes. With Godleman, Durston put on 124 runs for the fifth wicket before falling to a return-catch to Stuart Binny (1/25) just when he was close to completing a deserved hundred.
It didn’t bring about any more breakthroughs as Godleman constructed another fine partnership, this time adding 87 runs with Hossein, as he brought up his fifty in the 74th over of the day.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0/24), Pankaj Singh (1/63), Varun Aaron (0/45), Ishant Sharma (0/49) and Ishwar Pandey (1-34) bowled second spells in the post-tea session R Ashwin (0/25) too bowled a few overs after missing from the field for the better part of the day, while skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (0/11) sent down the last over wherein Hossein reached his fifty with a spanking four.
Mohammad Shami missed on the day’s play as a precautionary measure owing to a calf strain sustained before the game, but is expected to bowl in the second innings.
Earlier, Jadeja troubled Derbyshire batsmen as India struck three blows in the post-lunch session. He removed skipper Chesney Hughes (23) just before lunch and carried on in the same vein, troubling the batsmen with his quicker pace off the pitch which helped the deliveries get some bite.
Ben Slater (39 not out at lunch) carried on and reached his half-century off 113 balls which included eight fours. He was out shortly afterwards, after the 100-run mark had come up for Derbyshire, caught off Jadeja by Dhoni who took over keeping responsibility from Wriddhiman Saha in the first session.
Three runs later, Pandey bowled Alex Hughes (1) and the Indians were back on top. This was after another listless spell by Ishant and Aaron with the latter proving more expensive.
Afterwards, Durston and Godleman resisted the attack and put on a solid partnership, with the former reaching his fifty off 56 balls in the 55th over of the innings.
In the morning, Derbyshire had elected to bat first giving Indian bowlers a chance to work on their individual preparations. Like the game in Leicester, this match too hasn’t been accorded first-class status since the visitors have chosen to field all their 18 players over the next three days. Derbyshire will also get to choose from 12 nominated players.
Perhaps it was a boon for the Indians that they didn’t win the toss as their bowling looked rusty in the helpful conditions at Leicester last week.
Bhuvneshwar and Pankaj got things underway in the morning. The former looked more in control as compared to the previous game, while Pankaj was the pick of the Indian bowlers in the session. He troubled the batsmen often and had quite a few LBW shouts turned down, after he had already received an early reward when Paul Borrington was dismissed for a 17-ball duck.
At first-change, Aaron was deployed and he continued to work up good pace though wasn’t as consistent with his line as the first two bowlers.
At the other end though, Ishant’s struggle continued as India’s most experienced Test bowler in the squad couldn’t get his run-up right. He bowled four no-balls in his first four overs and was taken for five runs per over and never looked to trouble the batsmen or stop the runs.
It was a worrying sight as the batsmen saw off the early spells and scored runs at brisk pace. The 50-run mark came in the 18th over, with skipper Hughes and Slater putting on 70 runs for the second wicket.
This is the second and final practice game of the tour for India before the five back-to-back Test series begins in Nottingham on July 9.