Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj pick up five wickets between them to earn the visitors a 91-run lead
Indians 311 (Rahul 111, Jadeja 75, Miles 4-45) lead County Select XI 220 (Hameed 112, Yadav 3-22, Siraj 2-32) by 91 runs
For a better part of the last ten years, the Indians have preferred to play friendly tour games in the run-up to Test series overseas. The rigours of a first-class game that they have grown to appreciate in recent times are for days like Tuesday when they were given a proper workout by a potential opponent when the Test series starts.
Each of the Indian bowlers got a proper workout. After reducing the hosts to 56 for 4, shortly after lunch, Hameed was an epitome of composure and concentration. He focused on crease occupation for a better part of the first two sessions, before giving the Indians a glimpse of his free-flowing strokeplay in the final session.
He was particularly aggressive against Axar Patel’s left-arm spin, hitting him for three successive boundaries to dash out of the sixties. Then, he carried on with the same tempo, lofting Ravindra Jadeja. In the nineties, he was kept honest as Jasprit Bumrah came steaming in for one last hurrah at the end of a long day, but Hameed didn’t show signs of nerves or desperation of getting to the impending landmark, eventually getting there calmly off 228 deliveries.
Jake Libby and Robert Yates were dismissed before Sundar, allowing Yadav and Bumrah to get onto the scoreboard. Libby’s indecisiveness cost him as he chopped on, while Yates poked at Bumrah’s away-going delivery to Rahul. As wickets fell around him, a resolute Hameed continue to grind his way through, taking 134 deliveries to raise his half-century.
Bumrah and Yadav bowled five sharp overs each before and after lunch. While Bumrah bent his back and hit the deck hard, Yadav got the ball to move away, and to his credit, he made the batters play more than they left. Shardul Thakur, who had Hameed nicking behind, ended with 14-6-31-1. He pounded in over after over, mixing up full deliveries with skiddy short ones, causing the batters to weave and duck occasionally.
Thakur had come close to picking up another wicket when James gloved a short delivery down the leg side, only for the ball to fly wide of a leaping Rahul down the leg side.
Jadeja and Patel didn’t have much of a workload, mostly playing a holding role. Jadeja had a wicket to show for when he had debutant James Rew caught by Rohit Sharma at slip. Liam Patterson-White brought some late excitement to the proceedings when he took on India’s premier left-arm spinner, nonchalantly lofting him over the infield, then reverse-sweeping his way to some runs and having fun at the end of a hot day before being the last man out.
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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