Team India will begin its campaign in the World Test Championship on August 22 when the side takes on the West Indies in the first of the two-match Test series. Ahead of the series, the side took on the 'Windies A' side in a three-day warm-up match.
While Virat Kohli didn’t take part in the game, it saw the arrival of Test specialists like Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Ravichandran Ashwin, as well as the comeback of Jasprit Bumrah after rest in the limited-overs games.
While the match ended in a draw, the Indian team had a lot of positives with which they enter the Championship for the longest format of the game.
India may have donned the Test colours for the first time since January, but Pujara performed as if he never had a break. The India number 3 scored an unbeaten century in the first innings of the tour game before going off the field. This was also Pujara’s first professional outing in whites since February when he played for Saurashtra.
Pujara’s impressive form is a boost for Virat Kohli, especially considering Ajinkya Rahane’s shaky run. The Indian vice-captain went out cheaply in the first innings and while he scored 54 in the second, he played at a significantly slower pace, taking 162 balls.
Rohit Sharma’s outing in the first innings was impressive, as he forged an important partnership with Cheteshwar Pujara after arrival at the crease in a difficult time. The Indian team had lost Rahane on 1, and with the score at 53/3, Rohit and Pujara took the pressure off.
With Rohit, Hanuma Vihari also performed well in both the innings, with scores of 37* and 64. Moreover, Vihari came to bat at number 3 in the second innings, and took the charge while Rahane was pacing his innings slowly.
While there will be selection conundrum when the team management sits to finalize the playing XI for the first Test, it is always good to have the liberty to choose.
The bowling line-up was on song throughout the game, and the fact that India’s lead bowler Jasprit Bumrah took only one wicket makes it even more commendable.
Ishant Sharma’s fiery opening spell in the first innings marked the Windies A collapse, and the trio of Ishant, Umesh Yadav and Kuldeep Yadav scalped three wickets each to bundle the hosts up on 181. The second innings also saw the arrival of Ravichandran Ashwin, who was disciplined in his spell of 8 overs and also took a wicket.
It is, however, likely that Ashwin may have to sit out for the first Test as Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav could be the two choices in the spin department. Again – Team India has liberty to choose from multiple players who have performed well in the tour game