Virat Kohli didn't bat in the three-day game against New Zealand XI but he will be very happy with the others getting a hit and settling in well ahead of the two-match series against the Black Caps in the World Test Championship. Barring Shubman Gill, everybody got an sighter and made the most of it in challenging conditions against a strong New Zealand XI.
Kohli chose not to bat at all in either of the innings surprisingly but the likes of Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari got big scores while Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant also showed positive signs with the bat at Seddon Park in Hamilton.
What will comfort the visitors is how Pujara and Vihari rescued India after they were reduced to 38/4 with the openers, Gill and Ajinkya Rahane all back in the hut. Pujara and Vihari then dug in to register a 195-run stand for the fifth wicket before Pujara fell for 93 and Vihari completed his century and was retired out.
In the second innings, Shaw struck a steady 39 while Mayank's 81 off 99 balls will give him a much needed boost after getting dismissed cheapy in the first innings on the back of some poor scores in the three ODIs prior to it. Pant, who hasn't had much of a hit lately, also provided the team management with a headache following his breezy 70, where he scored four boundaries and maximums each. Wriddhiman Saha also showed his solidity with a 38-ball 30 not out follwing a duck in the first innings.
The only player, who couldn't get runs under his belt and make a case for a spot in the XI, was Gill. The Punjab batter only managed a score 8 in the second innings after getting out on the first ball in the first essay. However, Gill's unfortunate failure could provide India the clarity they needed for the opener's slot. With Shaw and Mayank getting runs along with Vihari, the visitors could go with Vihari in the middle-order and the duo up top if they at all decide to go with six batters in windy conditions.
The bowler's also backed up the batters in the only innings they got to bowl with the biggest positive being Bumrah's return among the wickets. All four of India's pacers grabbed nine wickets among themselves with R Ashwin taking the other in the first innings as New Zealand folded for 235 in reply to India's first innings total of 263.
Bumrah, who returned wicketless in the three ODIs, looked threatening and got the wickets of Will Young and Finn Allen and showed signs of him getting back to form after a lacklustre return from injury. His numbers and bowling wern't great since his return against Sri Lanka earlier this year but his spell in the warm-up game will give India some confidence going into the two-match series, which could prove to be very important in the World Test Championship.
With all pacers being among the wickets, the management once again has a headache in their hands as to who sits the first Test at least. With Ishant Sharma also passing the fitness test and flying to New Zealand, the problem of plenty is a happy sign following a disastrous ODI series against the Kiwis.
The first Test starts on February 21 at Basin Reserve, Wellington.