“You want to put yourself in tough situations in warm-up games. A little bit of seam would be good throughout the game for bowlers to get into a zone and batsmen to play a compact innings. The warm up games give you opportunity for match practice, which is the best kind of practice. Even if you’re content getting to fifty, and walk off, then that’s good.”
These were Virat Kohli’s words at the toss at Oval which he won and decided that India would bat against New Zealand in their first warm-up game ahead of the World Cup.
Sadly though, his wish of Indian batsmen facing the challenges and coming out on top did not come true as the two-time world champions managed just 179 against some disciplined Kiwi bowling attack.
Even that score was a bonus considering India were 115 for 8 at one stage. A 54 by Ravindra Jadeja and his 62-run stand with Kuldeep Yadav (19) for the ninth wicket was the main reason behind the late fightback.
In Pics: Ravindra Jadeja on way to a fine 54 (AP Photo)
Apart from Jadeja’s half century, Hardik Pandya’s 30 was the other notable contribution to come from an Indian bat.
Yes, there was a fifty but it would be the failure of the top order that would worry Virat the most. For India to succeed at the World Cup, Rohit, Dhawan and Virat have to do the bulk of the scoring.
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan fell for two each to Trent Boult. The Kiwi pacer got rid of the Indian openers with in-swinging deliveries – Rohit missed his and was trapped leg-before, while Dhawan got a faint edge that was neatly caught by wicketkeeper Tom Blundell.
In Pics: Shikhar Dhawan fell for just two (AP Photo)
The Indian captain was also dismissed to an incoming delivery from Colin de Grandhomme. Though, one has to say that Virat did play a lazy shot – leaving a gap between the bat and the pad for the ball to go through and disturb the timber.
Usually, in English conditions, it is the outswinging deliveries that trouble the batsmen. For the Indian batting trio, it is the inswingers that caused the downfall. Something that needs to be rectified against Bangladesh in the second warm-up game, even though the Bangladesh bowlers may not pose the same threat as the likes of Trent Boult and Tim Southee.
In Pics: Indian captain Virat Kohli dismissed after playing a lazy shot (AP Photo)
Suddenly in India’s batting order, the number four position has become the all-important spot. A lot of talk is going on as to who should bat at that position. Against the Kiwis, it was KL Rahul who got the opportunity to show his worth as the two other contenders – Kedar jadhav and Vijay Shankar, were rested.
If the inswingers led to the downfall of the famed Indian batting trio, it was a short ball from Trent Boult that got rid of Rahul. An inside edge of a rising delivery rattled the stumps and Rahul was back in the pavilion for 6 – another disappointing outing in the 50-over format.
It will be interesting to see who gets to bat at the number four position in the next practice game. Rahul may have wasted his opportunity.
In Pics: KL Rahul wasted an opportunity at No. 4 spot (AP Photo)
The India top order had a terrible day on a bright and sunny day at Oval and with just one more practice game before the main event starts, time is certainly running out for the Indian batsmen to learn from their mistakes and be ready come June 5.