India was set to play a four-day practice match against Essex. The Indian team announced that due to the heat wave in England, the practice match would be reduced to three days. This gives the team an extra day of rest before the start of the India-England Test matches in August.
India’s Coach Explains the Reduced Playing Time
The decision to reduce playing time came after Kohli and others had seen the Essex pitch. Some thought that the team was not happy with the condition of the pitch. This, however, was not the case.
Ravi Shastri, the India team coach, noted: “There was no complain from the Indian management about anything. Instead of an extra day here, I think an extra day of training at the Test match venue would be more valuable. We were ready to even play a two-day game. But when they explained about the tickets, we said fine, we’ll play a three-day game.”
Essex had already sold 3,700 tickets ahead of the third scheduled day of the match.
Kohli Saves the Day
The India team had a somewhat shaky start to the match against Essex. Once the team’s skipper, Virat Kohli, came to bat, things began to look up for India. Kohli was in good form, and managed to reach a half century, ending on 68 runs. Before Kohli took the bat, India was sitting with an uncomfortable 44 for three from Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Ajinkya Rahane.
After Kohli, things were looking up. KL Rahul made 58 runs, and Dinesh Karthik reached an unbeaten 82 runs by the end of the day. At the close of the first day of the three-day match, India ended with a reasonable result of 322 for six. The opener, Murali Vijay, also made a half century with a 53-run total.