Stuart Binny and Cheteshwar Pujara led the way with fluent half centuries as India ended day two of their three-day tour game versus Derbyshire at 341/6, enjoying a useful day of batting practice before the first Test begins at Nottingham on July 9.
Binny (81*, 111 balls, 9 fours, 2 sixes) and Ajinkya Rahane (13*, 40 balls) were together in the middle at stumps, putting on 53 runs for the seventh wicket.
This was after Pujara (81*) too had scored a fifty earlier in the day, his second in as many innings on tour so far, continuing his good preparation for the five-Test series. Pujara’s knock contained 13 hits to the fence.
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Ravindra Jadeja was the only casualty in the final session, but not before he too had made full use of the second life he was given, dropped before he had opened his account.
He scored 45 runs, facing 67 balls, hitting 7 fours and a six, before becoming spinner David Wainwright’s (2-76) second victim of the day.
Among prominent batsmen, only Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma didn’t get a chance to bat in this innings yet.
Earlier, Pujara and Dhoni added 119 runs for the fourth wicket as the Indian skipper made good use of the placid batting conditions, and scored 46 runs off 56 balls, hitting 4 fours and 1 six. He perished in the same manner, charging Wainwright only to be bowled.
At the other end, Pujara calmly accumulated runs, reaching his second half-century on tour so far, off 98 balls and including 9 fours. Along with Dhoni he added 119 runs for the fourth wicket.
After Dhoni was dismissed in the 55th over, two balls later, Pujara walked off when he was just 19 short of a triple-figure score.
This was after he had added 63 runs with Virat Kohli (36) for the third wicket. Kohli was bowled for a second time in two practice innings, when he played on a delivery from Ben Cotton (2-25) who picked up his second wicket of the innings.
India had made slow progress in the morning session, in reply to Derbyshire’s first innings’ score of 326/5 (90 overs). Shikhar Dhawan (6) and Murali Vijay (6) were dismissed cheaply earlier in the session.
Murali Vijay was out LBW to Mark Turner (1-56), with the score reading 18 runs, although the batsman was clearly disappointed with the decision. Four balls later, Cotton had Dhawan caught behind, and both opening batsmen were out for identical scores, each having faced 26 balls and hit one four.
On day one, Derbyshire had won the toss and thanks to half centuries from Wes Durston (95), Ben Slater (54) and Harvey Hossein (53*) piled up the runs against the Indian attack.
Ravindra Jadeja (2-27), Pankaj Singh (1-63), Ishwar Pandey (1-34) and Stuart Binny (1-25) were the wicket-takers for the visitors.
Meanwhile, England announced a 13-man squad for the first Test in Nottingham. There were no changes to the side that lost its first-ever Test series at home to Sri Lanka recently.
Instead, the selectors made an addition, bringing in fit-again all-rounder Ben Stokes into the team.