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India start England tour with a bang against Leicestershire

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The Indians began their England tour on a very positive note as they finished on a strong 333-4 at stumps on Day 1 of the first of their two warm up games against Leicestershire, as their batsmen got some important exposure to alien conditions, and plenty of runs!

MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat first, but the Indian openers struggled initially with Shikhar Dhawan afforded a reprieve in the very first over of the day when he was dropped in the slips. Dhawan and Murali Vijay looked to settle in for a bit, but Vijay was dismissed by Anthony Ireland for 20, with the scoreboard reading 46-1.

The next batsman in was Kolkata Knight Riders’ victorious skipper, Gautam Gambhir, who was looking to reclaim a place in the Indian test side. Gambhir settled in well and in the company of Dhawan, who notched up a fine fifty, took India through to lunch at 106-1 in 29 overs.

There was cause for concern for the Indians immediately after lunch as Dhawan was forced to retire hurt after suffering a blow to his right hand from pacer Atif Sheikh. Cheteshwar Pujara walked in next and joined Gambhir in the middle as the two batsmen took India forward. Gambhir brought up his half century and retired, after quality time spent in the middle, to give next batsman Virat Kohli a feel of conditions.

Kohli and Pujara added 49 runs for the third wicket and took the Indians to 214-2 at tea. However, Kohli’s stay was ended shortly after the break as he was bowled by Shiv Thakor, leaving India at 229-3. Meanwhile, Pujara continued to stroke the ball delightfully as he brought up his fifty in the company of Rahane. Clouds soon gathered above and began aiding some seam movement, though the batsmen seemed unperturbed. Pujara retired after a 98-ball 57, leaving India at 259-4.

Rohit Sharma walked out to the middle and gave Ajinkya Rahane company till stumps, as the two batsmen put on an unbeaten 74 for the 5th wicket and took India to a solid 333-4. Rahane was unbeaten on a 77-ball 47 while Rohit took 64 balls to register 43 as the two batsmen worked their way through some quality time with the bat.

The Indians were thus left with plenty to smile about, given that only two of their batsmen were actually dismissed while the rest spent useful time in the center as three fifties were posted on the board.

Mini scorecard:

India, stumps-day 1 333-4 (90 overs, 3.70 rpo)

S Dhawan 60 (100)  S Thakor 1-31 (10)

C Pujara 57 (98)   A Ireland 1-55 (21)