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The positives for India ahead of Test series

By Rediff Cricket
December 14, 2020 07:36 IST
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Shubhman Gill has been in good touch with scores of 43 and 65 in the 2nd warm-up game

IMAGE: Shubhman Gill scored 43 and 65 in the warm-up game. Photograph: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images
 

The second tour game against Australia A on Sunday has given the Indian team management a happy headache with some fine performances coming from the Test hopefuls.

The team will take a few positives into the opening Test of the four-match series starting on December 17.

Among those who impressed were Shubhman Gill, Hanuma Vihari and Rishabh Pant.

Gill's 43 off 58 in the first innings and then 65 off 78 balls with his solid technique and Virat Kohli-esque batting style sees him with a good chance to open the batting with Prithvi Shaw leaving a lot to be desired with his loose batting in the second innings even though he scored a quick 40 off 29 in the first innings.

Shaw has not been as solid as Gill. There is a lot of time at Gill's disposal and the upright stance with an ability to get his body behind the line of the ball like any top international batsman does, gives his team a lot of hope going into the series.

After failing in the first innings, Mayank Agarwal -- the other likely opener in the first Test -- was in touch in the second, scoring a superb 61.

Hanuma Vihari in action for India during the tour match

IMAGE: Hanuma Vihari in action for India during the tour game. Photograph: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

Vihari kept himself in the hunt with a hundred (104 off 194) that again reflected his patient approach.

With his handy off-breaks -- one such delivery got rid of Alex Carey -- he can be a good option for the sixth specialist batsman's spot in the side.

IMAGE: Rishabh Pant smashed a 73-ball century off the final ball of the second day of the practice game on Saturday. Photograph: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

If the day/night warm-up game is any indication, then Pant, after his 73-ball hundred, is the primary contender to don the gloves behind the wicket, meaning the more accomplished wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha could bide his time during the series.

Pant clobbered Jack Wildermuth for 4, 4, 6, 4, 4 off the final over of the second day, to finish unbeaten on a blistering 103 off only 73 balls, inclusive of six sixes and nine fours.

Jasprit Bumrah top-scored for India with 55 runs

IMAGE: Jasprit Bumrah top-scored for India with 55 runs in the first innings. Photograph: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

As far as the bowling is concerned, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Ravichandran Ashwin look set to start the Test match.

While Umesh and Ashwin did not play the second warm-up game, Bumrah and Shami were part of the second warm-up to keep them match ready and add miles to their legs.

On the third day, both pacers bowled 13 overs each and rightly conserved their energies for the big battle allowing back-up pacers Navdeep Saini (0/87 in 16 overs) and Mohammed Siraj (1/54 in 17 overs) to bowl longer spells without much success.

Bumrah also showed us a surprise version of himself with the bat, hitting an unbeaten 55 off 57 balls top-scoring for India in the first innings.

Shami and Saini took three wickets a piece in the first innings and then former finished with 2 for 58 in the drawn contest.

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World Test Championship - 2021

World Test Championship - 2021