Basseterre (St Kitts), July 13: India will look to plug the holes and provide the finishing touches to their preparation for the 4-Test series when they take on West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) President's XI in the final warm-up match starting here tomorrow (July 14).
The 3-day match will more or less decide the final playing XI for India and both the batsmen and bowlers will look to make their performance count and earn a place when coach Anil Kumble and captain Virat Kohli sit down to select the team for the 1st Test in Antigua on July 21. (Kumble introduces $50 fine)
India were far from impressive in their last
2-day warm-up game as their pace battery struggled with
inconsistent show and it will be the last chance for Kumble's boys to make an impression.
The Indian seamers, including Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami, who is returning to competitive cricket after a long injury lay-off, began well but lost the plot after sometime as they struggled with their line and length. (Mishra takes 4 in drawn game)
They could not push the batsmen to play their deliveries and bowled too wide outside the off stump, something which the pacers will have to sort out in the 3-day warm-up game at Warner Park.
Ishant Sharma, who also has had a long lay-off, and Umesh Yadav will also look to grind it out as the duo is expected to be key members of Kohli's gameplans. It will be interesting to see if Mumbai pacer Shardul Thakur gets a chance to roll his arms over in this game.
While the seamers were inconsistent, leg-spinner Amit Mishra was impressive and made life difficult for the WICB President's XI batsmen and was on a hat-trick after he dismissed Rajendra Chandrika and Jermaine Blackwood in successive balls.
Mishra ended with a 4-wicket haul and will look to continue his good run. Spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will also like to test their skills since the pitches in West Indies also assist slow bowlers.
In batting, India's top-order looked solid as they spent enough time in the middle with openers KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan scoring fifties.
Dhawan, whose form in the longer version has
been pretty patchy, and Rahul will look for another good
before the team management finalise the opening slot with Murali Vijay being the other contender.
Cheteshwar Pujara scored scored 34 runs in 102 balls before retiring out, while Rohit Sharma too was impressive as he came up with a fluent 54 not out in 109 balls.
However, skipper Kohli and his deputy Ajinkya Rahane were dismissed cheaply and the duo will look to find their 'A' game as they are an important cog in the India line-up.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Stuart Binny.
WICB President's XI: Leon Johnson (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, John Campbell, Rahkeem Cornwall, Jason Dawes, Jahmar Hamilton, Montcin Hodge, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Keon Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, Kemar Roach, Vishaul Singh.
Match starts at 7.30 PM IST