I’ and I imagine many others thought Day 2 of this warm up match would bring us a century as Dinesh Karthik was starting the day on 82, however he had a brain freeze on the first ball of the day from Paul Walter, he hit the ball skywards and Matt Dixon took a very good catch flying across the ground at some pace. India were 322 for 7, Karthik had impressed I was looking forward to appreciating his big score and hadn’t even had the time to take my camera out!
We were again promised Ashwin in to bat next, but no, next in was Karun Nair. Aaron Beard had toiled away with the ball on Day 1 and he got a wicket at last, bowling Nair for 4. Strangely I captured a photo of the ball hitting the stumps, but not the bail dislodging, it must have taken its time because it did go!
It seemed the India innings would be over quickly, but Hardik Pandya is more than useful with the bat Again Ashwin came up on the scorboard as next up, but Ravi Jadeja is easy to distinguish from the spin bowler. The last time I saw Pandya and Jadeja batting together was during the Champions Trophy Final, Pandya was going really well with the bat when (it seemed to me) Jadeja ran him out. That must’ve been an interesting conversation after the match!
There was no such disaster this time round and Pandya moved on to his 50, in fact 51, then he too made a rash shot to a Paul Walter ball, he was caught by Rishi Patel. I checked Patel’s age later in the day and discovered it was his 20th birthday, he took a great catch I hope he’ll remember as a birthday memory.
Of course Ashwin was next on the scoreboard, except Rishabh Pant was the final batsman. Pant like Karthik is clearly a very useful batsman and he made 34 runs including six 4’s. Jadeja made 15 before he was caught by a wonder catch from Feroze Khushi, that was a ball bowled by Matt Dixon, giving each of the Essex bowlers from day one at least 1 wicket.
Jadeja’s was the last wicket to fall and India were all out for 395, not a bad work out for them and not a bad display from the Essex bowlers against some of the best in the world. Could the Essex batsmen do as well? Varun Chopra opened with Nick Browne, it was good to see Nick back, he’d broken some fingers warming up for the Worcestershire match early in the season. The second XI had benefited from his presence but this was his first time back in the real limelight.
Browne’s return was short lived, he was trapped LBW by Umesh Yadav for 13
Chopra hadn’t looked entirely comfortable and he was following Browne back into the pavilion having scored 16 in 71 minutes, he too was trapped LBW, but this time by the very tall Ishant Sharma. Essex were 45 for 2.
Captain Tom Westley was joined by 20 year old Michael Pepper, making his first appearance for the ‘first team’. He’d been having a good summer with the second XI and really impressed with the bat against these India bowlers, he basically took no risks but punished every loose ball. Tom Westley played a very similar innings as the two built a partnership of 68. The 20 year old got more than his share of stares from Ishant as he frustrated him ball after ball.
There was something of a theme building as Westley reached his 50 and was out not long after. He was clearly frustrated with himself as he hit a Thakur ball to be caught by Jadeja. He’d made 57 from 89 balls.
Some photos of the India players fielding, they seemed to be in good spirits and it was great to see those near their passionate fans signing autographs when they were in a position to do so.
Dan Lawrence, in the shape of James Foster was up next, that very probably gave us the master and his student at the crease in wicket keeping terms. Pepper carried on impressing with most of his scoring shots being boundaries. The pair put on 56, Pepper had looked to be heading for a big score, but Ishant Sharma had the final word and bowled him. He’d made 68 from 74 balls, hitting fifteen 4’s. This is a lad we’ll be seeing a lot more of!
I need to get ready for Day 3 so will add more photos later, but, James Foster was joined by Paul Walter, Foster ended the day in 23.Walter on 22 and Essex on 237 for 5. The India bowlers had been tidy but not overly threatening, I’m hoping we’ll see Kuldeep on Day 3, we just had a few overs of spin from Jadeja on Day 2.