India has a few things to ponder

India failed to bowl out county side Essex in 94 overs before Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara suffered another batting failure on the final day of the one-off practice game, leaving the visitors with plenty to ponder ahead of the first Test.

Essex, resuming day three at 237 for five, went on to frustrate the Indians for 36 overs before declaring at 359 for eight, 36 short of the visitors’ effort in the first innings.

Rain curtails play

The play on the final day was called off one and a half hours before the scheduled 6 p.m. local time due to rain, with India reaching 89 for two in 21.2 overs.

The game ended rather abruptly, thanks to the first spell of rain in Chelmsford in two months.

India would have been heading to Birmingham, the venue of the first Test, in a much better space if two of its key batsmen, Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara, had got some runs under their belt. It was not to be as Dhawan departed without scoring for the second time in the match, while Pujara perished after scoring 23 off 35 balls.

K.L. Rahul, who was among the runs in the first innings alongside skipper Virat Kohli, Dinesh Karthik, M. Vijay and Hardik Pandya, was sent out to open with a struggling Dhawan.

The stylish right-hander made a strong case for selection in the series opener with a an unbeaten 36 off 64 balls, following his 58 in the first innings.

It remains to be seen whether the team management sticks to the left-right combination of Dhawan and Vijay or brings in Rahul at the top. Pujara is also not a certain starter and if he is overlooked, Rahul can also bat at his No. 3 position.

Welcome news

Perhaps the biggest news of the day, came in the pre-lunch session when R. Ashwin (none for 21) bowled five overs.

The off-spinner overcame the minor finger injury sustained in the nets on Thursday.

He took the field for the first time in three days, much to the relief of the team management.

India — 1st innings: 395.

Essex — 1st innings: Nick Browne lbw b Umesh 11, Varun Chopra lbw b Ishant 16, Tom Westley c Jadeja b Thakur 57, Michael-Kyle Pepper b Ishant 68, Rishi Patel c Karthik b Umesh 19, James Foster b Umesh 42, Paul Walter c Rahane b Ishant 75, Matt Coles c Dhawan b Umesh 0, Aron Nijjar (not out) 29, Feroze Khushi (not out) 14; Extras (b-18, lb-5, nb-5): 28; Total (for eight wkts. decl. in 94 overs): 359.

Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-45, 3-113, 4-169, 5-186, 6-277, 7-283, 8-336

India bowling: Shami 21-4-68-0, Umesh 18-8-35-4, Ishant 19-4-59-3, Hardik 12-2-54-0, Thakur 13-0-58-1, Jadeja 2-0-17-0, Kuldeep 4-0-24-0, Ashwin 5-1-21-0.

India — 2nd innings: K.L. Rahul (not out) 36, Shikhar Dhawan b Quinn 0, Cheteshwar Pujara c Chopra b Walter 23, Ajinkya Rahane (not out) 19; Extras (b-4, lb-6, nb-1): 11; Total (for two wkts. in 21.2 overs): 89.

England bowling: Matt Coles 5-2-9-0, Matthew Quinn 4-2-5-1, Paul Walter 5-0-38-1, Shane Snater 6-0-26-0, Aron Nijjar 1.2-0-1-0.

Match drawn.

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