St Kitts : Young KL Rahul struck his second half-century on tour as India were well placed at 181 for three at lunch on day two of their second practice match against West Indies Board President’s XI on Friday.
Rahul was unbeaten on 64 and put on 88 runs with skipper Virat Kohli (45 not out) who was also solid at the crease, as the duo easily crossed Board President XI’s 180 all out from day one.
Rahul started the day at 30, while Kohli took first strike as Cheteshwar Pujara (28) had been bowled in the final over on day one, leaving the visitors at 93 for three.
The Indian skipper didn’t look in any hurry and wanted to make up for the time lost in the first practice game wherein he had been dismissed for just 14. At the other end, his partner also looked to build on his start from day one, after openers Murali Vijay (23) and Shikhar Dhawan (9) had played loose shots the previous evening.
Early on, there was a moment of hesitation from Rahul as he sent back Kohli after he had set off. The throw was off the mark, and afterwards the duo looked in no discomfort on a bright and sunny day.
They brought up their 50-run stand just past the hour mark on day two. Rahul batted slowly, looking to run hard, as the slow outfield didn’t carry the ball to the ropes on a number of occasions. At the other end, Kohli opened and brought out a flurry of on-drives against the pacers.
The scoring rate dipped a bit, but that didn’t matter altogether, except that Kohli quickly caught up with Rahul in the forties. And that is when the discomfort began for the latter. He was a bit edgy in getting his fifty, and thus, there were a couple of further occasions of miscommunication between the two batsmen.
When on 49, Rahul hit a ball straight to the mid-off fielder and set for a run, only to be sent back by Kohli in time. An over later, he was dropped by Keon Joseph (0-40), a simple return catch spilled as the bowler didn’t get down on time. Rahul then reached his half-century with a dab to third man, making a strong case for inclusion for the first Test in Antigua.
At the other end, Kohli too was almost caught when he tried to flick the ball past the short-midwicket fielder. The Board President XI side was unlucky not to snare one of the two, as on the last ball before lunch, Rahul edged behind off Joseph again only for stand-in keeper Shai Hope to drop the chance.
On the first day, the Indian spin trio of Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra kept their stranglehold on the inexperienced Board President’s XI.