India looked unimpressive in their tour match against Leicestershire, as the two sides drew at Grace Road.
Admittedly, England will not have been able to gauge too much from the three-day encounter, with a large part of it lost to rain. No play at all was possible on day two, but when there was cricket to be played, India struggled, particularly in the field.
Leicestershire’s Angus Robson starred with the bat, the opener hitting a fantastic knock of 126 as India’s bowlers seemed to run out of ideas. Although it will not be counted as his debut ton in first class cricket because the match was not competitive, his brother Sam will certainly be hoping to replicate his efforts in England’s first Test at Trent Bridge on July 9.
Greg Smith also shone for the Foxes with his own century coming incredibly quickly as he hit 101 off just 102 balls. Indeed, India failed to dismiss either Robson or Smith, both of whom retired out, before Dan Redfern notched up 58 to keep the scoreboard ticking.
India will no doubt have gone home slightly happier with their batsmen than their bowlers; Shikhar Dhawan, Gautam Gambhir, and Chesteshwar Pujara all reached half centuries and keeping their wickets, the first retiring hurt, and the latter two also retiring out.
However, ahead of their series with England, the post-match focus is on their rusty bowling. Three Lions head coach Peter Moores must have been delighted to watch Jadeja and co toil in the Leicestershire cloud. There is more pressure than ever on England ahead of the upcoming Tests, as they aim to finally end their losing streak.
Captain Alistair Cook, more than anyone, has a point to prove, being forced to bear unrelenting criticism for England’s woeful form.
There were plenty of positives to take from the Sri Lanka series, but against an India side who did not look at their best, there is a real chance for England to go one better and get a result.
As for India, their secretive tour continues, as they revealed that, as was the case after the Leicestershire match, they will not be doing any interviews after their next warm-up match against Derbyshire, if nothing else to avoid having to discuss their bowling woes.
The amount of rain at Grace Road implied there was never going to be much play, but India will undoubtedly be disappointed in their display, and have work to do if they are to overcome England.
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