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Virat Kohli and Co. fail 'one hour test' at preparatory camp

India Today logo India Today 04-07-2016

On the penultimate day of the Indian team's preparation camp ahead of the West Indies tour, the squad was put to test in a Test cricket simulation exercise by coach Anil Kumble. The batting unit's indisciplined display would have meant many red crosses in the batting coach's notebook.

On the outskirts of Bangalore, 25 kms away from city under blue skies in an open ground at Alur, the cream of Indian batting was up against India's first choice bowling attack.

ISHANT CASTLES VIJAY

Instead of having a conventional practice game, the batsmen as well as the bowlers went through a more rigorous test with each batsman having to negotiate a trio of fast bowlers followed by spin trio, for half an hour each with the benefit of playing with a life.

Test openers M Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan were up against Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the first half hour followed by another 30 minutes against spin trio of Amit Mishra, Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin.

Vijay's familiarly elegant stay at the crease was interrupted by Ishant who castled him fair and square. Vijay also threw his wicket away once to a run out.

Southpaw Shikhar Dhawan who has been working overtime in the nets with the batting coach on improving his bat angle arc, undid all the hard work by throwing his wicket away to an expensive drive edged to slips of Ashwin. He too failed to bat out the hour by getting out caught and bowled to Bhuvneshwar, the second time.

JADEJA TROUBLES KOHLI

Captain and cynosure of all eyes, Virat Kohli looked good against pace but never managed to get on top of Ravindra Jadeja's left arm spin despite his best efforts. Unlike in a match, here having to negotiate a quality left arm, off spin and leg spin delivery in a row for half hour was a mentally taxing challenge and he came second best. He was twice beaten to the ball spinning away, once stumped and on another occasion holding out to long off.

KL Rahul was more compact but he too lost his wicket once, run out to a quick reflex action work by silly mid off.

Some of these dismissals can be accounted to batsmen experimenting new shots in the middle. Virat for example tried both the conventional as well as the reverse sweep against the turning ball, something he worked on vigorously in the nets as well. It's not a shot he has used too often in test cricket before but might want to bring into play against spin on slower wickets of the Caribbean.

Rohit Sharma still fighting for his place in his 10th year in international cricket again flattered to deceive. Hitting a couple of balls out of the ground only to lose his wicket to a reverse sweep.

PUJARA, RAHANE PASS TEST

Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane who came in to bat in the post lunch session never lowered their guard against the pace of Shardul Thakur, Varun Aaron, Mohammed Shami and and Stuart Binny or spin thrown by Jayant Yadav Shahbaz Nadeem and Vijay. They saw the hour off, just the way it's expected of a batsmen in Test cricket.

Despite the efforts of the past four days at the camp, many batsmen would be well served to acknowledge that the switch from the long T20 season to Test cricket hasn't been an easy one.

And while they have the support system in place under their legendary player turned coach, the technical adjustments will need to be made and mental toughness cultivated themselves.

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