If the Indian team had snuck out of their alluringly quaint Glenelg outpost on Friday afternoon and ventured into the city for a little peek into their opposition camp, they might have witnessed a brief trailer of what is to come.
Four strapping Australian pacers were running in at full steam and giving their own teammates a good old roughing up, not to forget Greg Blewett’s baseball mitt, which collected most of those left alone. That is not to say the visitors weren’t getting a first-hand taste of it from the next generation of fast bowlers from Down Under in their practice match. They were copping it.
At 11.23 am, Murali Vijay, fluent and languid till then with both his poise and strokeplay, received a thundering blow to the side of his head, just over the ear by a quick bouncer from right-armer Evan Gulbis. The clung of leather on metal stunned everyone present at the Glenelg Oval for a moment.
But Vijay shook it off, turning down calls for attention and carried on. The next delivery from Sam Rainbird rushed Virat Kohli into a hurried sway, as the ball flew past his face into the wicket-keeper’s gloves. Two balls later, came a similar effort from the left-arm pacer. This time Kohli was ready for it, and pulled it away with disdain. Not with the same disdain that Ajinkya Rahane pulled one from Gulbis once Kohli retired out after crossing his half-century.
Though he was tended to at the drinks break, Vijay continued in sublime fashion, stroking fours on either side of the wicket, producing his trademark drives on the off-side, and flicks and tucks through the on-side. When he walked out for a well-made 60, Rohit Sharma walked in.
With Cricket Australia XI opting to welcome the two Mumbai stalwarts with off-spin, Rohit and Rahane picked up the scoring with the former smashing a couple of soaring sixes. And by the end of the day, the Indians had gotten everything they wanted from the practice match.
Three of their batsmen had scored half-centuries, Rohit had fallen two short and then their bowlers had returned to take five home team wickets to end the game on a high, Ishant Sharma snaring two of them. Not to forget the entire lot got well-versed with the short ball.
Brief scores: CA XI 243 & 83/5 (J Silk 41; I Sharma 2/8). Indians 375 in 90 overs (M Vijay 60 r.o, V Kohli 66 r.o, , A Rahane 56 r.o, W Saha 51, R Sharma 48; J Lalor 4/59).
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