India vs Essex warm-up match ends in draw, leaves visitors with plenty to ponder

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India failed to bowl out county side Essex in 94 overs before Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara suffered another batting failure on the final day of the one-off practice game, leaving the visitors with plenty to ponder ahead of the first Test. Essex, resuming day three at 237 for five, went on to frustrate the Indians for 36 overs before declaring at 359 for eight, 36 short of the visitors’ effort in the first innings. (HIGHLIGHTS)

The play on the final day was called off one and a half hours before the scheduled 6pm local time due to rain, with India reaching 89 for two in 21.2 overs. The game ended rather abruptly, thanks to the first spell of rain in Chelmsford in two months.

The away team would have been heading to Birmingham, the venue of the first Test, in a much better space if two of its key batsmen Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara had gotten some runs under their belt. However, it was not to be as Dhawan departed without scoring for the second time in the match while Pujara perished after scoring 23 off 35 balls.

Lokesh Rahul, who was among the runs in the first innings alongside skipper Virat Kohli, Dinesh Karthik, Murali Vijay and Hardik Pandya, was sent out to open today alongside the struggling Dhawan.

The stylish right-hander made a strong case for selection in the series opener with a an unbeaten 36 off 64 balls, following his 58 in the first innings.

It remains to be seen whether the team management sticks to the left-right combination of Dhawan and Vijay or brings in Rahul at the top. Pujara is also not a certain starter and if he is overlooked, Rahul can also bat at his number three position.

After the bowlers were made to work hard by Essex, India got off to another poor start in their second innings, with Dhawan bowled for a three-ball duck in the second over. He was unable to comprehend Matt Quinn’s (1/5) swing and fell for a pair in this game having faced only four balls.

Pujara improved on his first innings’ showing before falling to Paul Walter. Looking comfortable to a great extent, Pujara put on 36 runs for the second wicket with Rahul (who was dropped on 8 at second slip).

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