Making it count
Maybe it wasn’t a bad thing that none of the India top order converted their starts into a big score – it ensured all the frontline batsmen were able to spend a decent length of time in the middle – and, by the end of the day, Ajinkya Rahane was retiring out to give others a hit. But they will need to make sure that fifty-and-out is not a habit that creeps into the Test series. Make it count when they get in. Cheteshwar Pujara can be excused his dismissal, beaten by a beautiful delivery from Luke Robins that clipped the top of off stump, and Kohli is well versed in going beyond fifty, though you could see his frustration when he fell after lunch. However, Shaw’s inelegant sweep at Daniel Fallins and Vihari’s rather tame lbw to Short were missed opportunities for three figures.
Vihari or Rohit (or neither)
The balance of India’s side remains a hot topic. Will they play Ravindra Jadeja or R Ashwin as an allrounder or go for a sixth specialist batsman? Vihari, who also bowls some passable offspin, made his debut against England at The Oval where he scored a half-century in the first innings before being left out against West Indies when five bowlers were selected. It may be relevant that Vihari batted above Rohit Sharma in this innings, although given the nature of the match, conclusions are hard to draw. Rohit’s experience of 25 Tests could yet tip the balance. It is also worth noting that Jadeja wasn’t given the chance for a bat.
Bangar later said the opening and No. 6 slots were the positions “we have still not decided”.
A wicket (and day) to remember
It’s a wicket 19-year-old Aaron Hardie will be able to dine out on for a while. On 64, Kohli came forward to drive and could only send a return catch at shin height which Hardie grabbed in his follow-through. Sadly, for him, this isn’t a first-class match so it won’t class in official records but, still, it was a moment he will never forget and the celebrations with his team-mates were full of joy. It wasn’t the first time he had removed one of the best batsmen in the world, either. Playing against England during one of their warm-up matches on last year’s Ashes tour, he had Joe Root caught behind for 9. Later on, he also removed Rohit, Ashwin and Mohammed Shami in the space of 10 balls. He’ll have worse days out.