Saurashtra’s Pujara was included in Mumbai ‘A’ to get some much-needed match practice against the visitors and he made the most of the opportunity, batting for 262 minutes for his 184-ball 87 to help his team score 232 for four in reply to England’s 345 for nine declared. Mumbai ‘A’ trail by 113 runs with six wickets in hand. For England, James Anderson, Graham Onions, Monty Panesar and Joe Root claimed a wicket each.
Pujara was slow off the blocks. At one point it seemed that Hiken Shah (batting on 84), who came in at the fall of Shikhar Dhawan’s wicket, would overtake Pujara. But the India middle-order batsman accelerated after reaching his half-century.
The gritty knock came to an end when he was caught by James Anderson at first slip off Panesar. Pujara was earlier dropped in the slips off Panesar when he was on 22.
Dhawan made a promising start, smashing five boundaries, but was caught by Anderson at first slip off off-spinner Joe Root. Pujara said his purpose was solved. “I was looking forward for this match. Honestly, I haven’t faced much of England bowlers in the past, so it was important that I get some practice before the Test series.
“The wicket was on the slower side, so it helped to get used to the action and what sort of strategy they have for me. I wanted to have a look at all their bowlers. Of course, it won’t be the same in the Test match as the intensity will be higher,” he said.
No selector at Nerul
No member of India’s selection panel was present for the second warm-up match at the DY Patil Stadium in Nerul yesterday. Chief selector Sandeep Patil was at the Wankhede Stadium watching the Mumbai vs Railways Ranji Trophy match, probably to get a closer look at pace spearhead Zaheer Khan. The selectors’ no-show in Nerul is probably an indication that the team for the first Test is already selected and the second warm-up match is just a formality.