India had a solid time in the middle with the bat on day one, and the bowlers, led by Amit Mishra, pressed their cases for inclusion in the playing XI for the first Test against the West Indies with some impressive shows on the second and final day of the first practice match against the WICB President's XI.
The Indians chose to bat first after winning the toss on Saturday, and the two openers – Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul, with Murali Vijay not playing this match – did a terrific job at the top, putting on 93 runs for the opening wicket.
Both Dhawan (51, 90b, 7x4) and Rahul (50, 99b, 5x4, 1x6) retired after reaching their half-centuries, with Cheteshwar Pujara (34, 102b, 5x4) playing over a hundred deliveries before also walking back to the dressing room without being dismissed by a WICB President's XI bowler.
While Virat Kohli, the India Test skipper, fell for just 14 (40b, 2x4) and Ajinkya Rahane, the vice-captain, was dismissed for five – both wickets taken by Jomel Warrican – Rohit Sharma made a case for his inclusion in India's plans for the first Test by knocking 54 from 109 balls (8x4, 1x6).
India declared at 258 at the end of Day 1, with the bowlers given a run-out on Sunday. Mishra was the one who impressed most, as the legspinner finished with figures of 27-5-67-4, with WICB President's XI ending up on 281/7, courtesy century from Shai Hope (118, 229b, 15x4), as the match ended in a draw.
Despite that performance, Mishra is unlikely to find his way into the India XI for the opener on July 21, considering R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are expected to be ahead of the pecking order – you never know what the new India coach Anil Kumble, a legspinner himself, might think, but with Ashwin a definite inclusion, it might be difficult for Mishra to force his way in ahead of Jadeja.
India's pace bowlers are also fighting it out for a place in the Test XI, and all four made their cases with some solid bowling. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was miserly in his 13-over spell, giving away just 29 runs, while also picking up a wicket.
Mohammed Shami (17-2-62-1), Umesh Yadav (17-3-66-1) and Ishant Sharma (13-2-48-0) also had a good workout and it will be interesting to see who Kohli and Kumble choose in the end.
The India think-tank will have another practice match to help them in doing that with the Indians playing the same WICB President's XI team in a three-day game, starting Thursday.