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India vs CA XI Warm-up Takeaways: Kohli the All-rounder; Vihari Over Rohit for Middle-order Slot

Karthik Lakshmanan |Cricketnext | Updated: December 1, 2018, 4:24 PM IST
India vs CA XI Warm-up Takeaways: Kohli the All-rounder; Vihari Over Rohit for Middle-order Slot

Indian cricket team in action during their warm-up tie. (BCCI)

An entire day washed out. Only a handful of opposition players with first-class experience. No first-class status for the game. A lot of questions were raised over the effectiveness of India's only tour game before the first Test against Australia, but Cricket Australia XI did give the Indians a decent work out.

India might have taken a few pointers as well. Here's what India can take away from the match, although Kohli is known to surprise many with his eventual selection choices.

Opening combination settled

One person's misfortune is another's luck. Prithvi Shaw made a stroke-filled, fluent 66 off 69 balls in India's first innings and would have thought he had done enough to seal his spot for the first Test in Adelaide. However, he twisted his ankle while fielding in the deep, and has been ruled out of the game.

While it's a tough pill to swallow for the 18-year-old, it's the opening Murali Vijay needed. Vijay did not even bat in India's first innings, making clear the first-choice openers were Shaw and Rahul. He got his chance in the second, and grabbed it with both hands with a ton. Get dropped mid-way through the England series, stay out for home series against Windies, score runs in county and make it to Australia, get a chance due to injury, and make it count. Vijay has had a roller-coaster ride in the last few months.

Rahul too got some runs in the second innings and will go into the Adelaide Test with a bit more confidence. His form has come under the scanner, with even Sanjay Bangar showing signs of frustration over his modes of dismissals. But the 62 in the second innings will do Rahul's confidence a world of good.

So, Vijay and Rahul it is!

Hanuma Vihari over Rohit Sharma?

Vihari batted above Rohit Sharma in the first innings, and scored more runs as well (Vihari made 53 while Rohit, 40). As the game was heading towards a draw late on
the final day, India sent in Vihari at No. 3 to get a hit. Maybe it's a signal that he's above Rohit in the pecking order, if there's a vacant slot in the middle-order?

Vihari played one Test in England and made a half-century. Rohit hasn't played a Test since the tour of South Africa earlier in the year, but has been in terrific form in limited-overs cricket. With Hardik Pandya out with an injury, it remains to be seen who takes the middle-order slot.

Lower order disappoints

One of the big differences between India and England in the series earlier in 2018 was the contributions of the lower order batsmen. England had an upper hand there due to their batting depth, which India couldn't match. In this tour game, R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav - the last three batsmen - made ducks. It's just one inning, but not a great sign for the side.

Bowlers toil without the two Bs

India's bowling was on paper much stronger than the inexperienced CA XI batsmen. But it was the home side that managed a big lead, scoring 544 in response to India's 358. Harry Nielsen, who has played seven first-class matches, made a century. Max Bryant and Aaron Hardie haven't played first-class cricket yet but they managed 62 and 86 respectively. D'Arcy Short scored 74.

Shami picked up three wickets from his 24 overs, but Umesh and Ishant Sharma got only two wickets from a combined 50 overs. Umesh and Shami were expensive too, with economy rates above 4.

Jasprit Bumrah bowled only 1.1 overs; he had to come in because the last-wicket stand added 57, and promptly ended the partnership. Bhuvneshwar Kumar played no part in the game. It's interesting that he didn't bat too; is it a sign that he won't be the first choice pacer due to the flat tracks?

R Ashwin over Ravindra Jadeja?

Will Ashwin be the first choice spinner? He got an opportunity to bat while Jadeja didn't. Ashwin bowled 40 overs for two wickets, Jadeja bowled only 11. Kuldeep bowled just one over.

Australia have as many as six left-handed batsmen in their Test side, so Ashwin could have a big role to play. It's perhaps why Vihari bowled quite a few overs (12) too, although he went wicketless.

Virat Kohli's part-time bowling to come into play?

The India captain bowled seven overs, and dismissed the player who made a century. In Pandya's absence, will Kohli chip in with his medium pace if he needs to give his pacers a break?
First Published: December 1, 2018, 4:14 PM IST

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