Chelmsford: Wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik (82 batting, 94b, 14×4) warmed up in style while captain Virat Kohli (68, 93b, 12×4) and KL Rahul (58, 92b, 12×4) also got half centuries as India scored 322 for six at stumps on day one of their game against Essex here, Wednesday. Opener Murali Vijay (53, 113b, 7×4) also scored a half century after the visitors opted to bat after winning the toss. Vijay was lucky though, dropped at six and 18 in the slips.
Karthik stitched 114 runs with Rahul for the sixth wicket to take India’s score past the 300-run mark. Keeping him company at stumps was Hardik Pandya (33 n o, 56b, 6×4).
The entertaining batting by the middle-order helped India recover from a disastrous start after they had been reduced to 44 for three with Shikhar Dhawan (0), Cheteshwar Pujara (1) and Ajinkya Rahane (17), all back in the hut.
Kohli, who had struggled all through the previous Test tour of England in 2014, was instrumental in reviving the Indian innings. He came out at No.5 at the fall of Rahane’s wicket and along with Vijay resurrected the Indian innings with a stand of 90 runs.
After all the drama over the condition of the pitch and the outfield at this ground, which apparently led to the curtailing of the match by one day, the Indians won the toss and got down to the business of spending time at the middle. However, the start was not as expected.
Dhawan was caught behind as the top-order found new ball bowler Matt Coles (2/32) too hot to handle. Coles also dismissed Pujara cheaply, caught behind again, leading to Rahane coming out at No.4. But he also couldn’t do much.
Brief scores: India 322 for 6 (Dinesh Karthik 82 batting, Virat Kohli 68, KL Rahul 58, Murali Vijay 53). Match to continue