The second batch of India's Australia-bound Test squad including captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni didn't arrive in the country until after 3 AM yesterday. But that didn't stop them from putting in a two-hour practice session here at Manuka Oval on the eve of today's first practice match.
MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Virat Kohli, Gautam Gambhir, Ajinkya Rahane and Wriddhiman Saha faced up to Pragyan Ojha, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, and newly-recruited throwdown expert Raghavindraa, besides a host of local bowlers.
Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Abhimanyu Mithun, Vinay Kumar and R Ashwin were the ones that skipped the optional session. The news from the Indian camp is that the younger lot would play today, while the senior players feature in the second game starting December 19. Ishant bowled to Kohli and Laxman with a coloured patch stitched to the nets -- that he struck on a few occasions -- trying to perfect the off and outside-off stump line ahead of the Tests.
Earlier in the day, Cricket Australia Chairman's XI skipper Ryan Broad said his side would look to make life difficult for India. "If there is any way we can help out and make (the Australian Test team's) job easier, we'll try to press that advantage home. I'm not sure how India are going to want to play the match, but we're definitely going to play a positive brand of cricket," said Broad.