Team India returned to action in whites during a four-day warm-up match against Leicestershire, as it prepares for the fifth and final Test of the series against England. The Test – originally scheduled in Manchester last year – was postponed after multiple Covid-19 cases in the Indian camp and will now be played in Edgbaston. On Day 1, India had a mixed day as the side ended at 246/8 in 60.2 overs before rain eventually halted the action.
Wicketkeeper-batter Srikar Bharat remained unbeaten on 70 but the remaining players in the batting order failed to impress. Former India captain Virat Kohli did look promising but he was dismissed on 33 off 69 balls.
During his innings, Kohli drew attention from the fans on Twitter after the cameras caught the batter seemingly trying to imitate Joe Root’s magical ‘bat-balancing’ trick. In the first Test of the series against New Zealand earlier this month, Root incredibly managed to get the bat balancing in the air without touching it.
Kohli, too, tried at doing the same but eventually gave up, as he put his focus back on the action at the crease. Former England captain Michael Vaughan had a funny take on the incident, as he referred to the comparisons between the two batters. “Virat not in the same Bat balancing league as Joe,” Vaughan wrote.
Earlier in the game, India captain Rohit Sharma had won the toss and opted to bat. However, the side faced an early blow as opener Shubman Gill departed after a brisk 21. Six overs later, Rohit, too, was dismissed on 25 as he miscued a pull shot. India were left reeling at 81/5 at one stage after Hanuma Vihari (3), Shreyas Iyer (0), and Ravindra Jadeja (13) all departed cheaply.
Kohli and Bharat, then, forged a 57-run stand, and Umesh Yadav (23) partnered with the wicketkeeper-batter for 64 runs for the eighth wicket. Alongside Bharat, Shami remained unbeaten on 18.