Indian bowlers struggled even under favourable conditions on a rain-hit third day as the visitors’ three-day practice match against Leicestershire ended in a draw on Saturday.
India managed to send down 62 overs and tried out all their front-line bowlers, but nearly all of them were taken for easy runs by the batsmen.
In the end, the hosts finished at 349/5 in response to India’s day one score of 333/4 in 90 overs.
Opener Angus Robson (126 retired out) and number three batsman Greg Smith (101 retired out) both scored hundreds, putting an unbeaten 221-run stand for the second wicket off 222 balls, heaping a lot of misery on the Indian bowlers who were struggling to find their belongings in the alien English conditions.
In the short pre-lunch session, India had managed to send down 13 overs during which the hosts scored 71/1.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0-46) opened the bowling for India and struggled to hit a good length. He bowled a seven-over spell during which he gave away runs at nearly seven-per-over and was hit for ten boundaries
Good cloud cover and a stiff breeze made it the perfect time to bowl for medium pacers and Pankaj Singh (1-46) at the other end made perfect use of the same with a six-over spell.
The Rajasthan bowler was on the money right away, bowling with a good rhythm and consistently troubling both the batsmen. He was rewarded for his efforts when Matthew Boyce was out caught driving on the up as Ajinkya Rahane pulled off a stunning one-handed catch at third slip.
After lunch, rain stopped nearly 25 minutes into the second session and play only resumed after 75 minutes in all had been lost. It resulted in an extended post-lunch session, which began with Ishant Sharma (2-64) and Mohammad Shami taking over from the opening bowlers.
Sharma struggled the most out of all bowlers, even more than Kumar, as he conceded 27 runs off his first two overs, sending down six no-balls and conceding five fours.
His first spell of four overs saw him concede 47 runs in all. Later he returned for another four-over spell from the other end and didn’t bowl a no-ball again. It didn’t read his overall figures of 8-0-59-0.
Shami was a little bit more controlled with his line and length, bowling six overs for 0-25. Stuart Binny (0-22), Ishwar Pandey (0-31) and Varun Aaron (0-31) were the other seam bowlers deployed by skipper MS Dhoni. While the trio bowled with enough control, Aaron working up good pace, runs continued to flow unabated.
Robson reached his hundred off only 102 balls, hitting 20 fours, while his partner was in more hurry even as rain started falling again near tea-time.
He smacked Ravindra Jadeja (0-57) for two sixes and brought up his century off exactly continued…