India vs England: Murali Vijay flops as Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant make most of India A outing

India A, featuring four players from the Indian Test squad for the first three Tests against England, endured a 253-run hammering at the hands of a formidable England Lions team consisting of Test players Alastair Cook, Chris Woakes, Dom Bess, Jack Leach and Sam Curran in the only unofficial Test played at Worcester.

Chasing an improbable target of 421 with over a day to play out, India A were bundled for 167. England Lions rode on Cook’s century (180) in the first innings that helped them to 423 and then declared their second innings on 194 for five, after dismissing the Indian team for 197 in their first essay.

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Here’s a look at how the four Indian Test squad members fared in their India A game against England:

Murali Vijay

The first choice Indian opener for the India vs England Test series, Murali Vijay failed to make any substantial impact during the tour game. Vijay followed his first-innings eight with a duck at New Road, Worcester and could only manage to be in the middle for a total of 39 deliveries. In the first innings, he played second fiddle to fellow opener Prithvi Shaw, who scored an enterprising 62 off 82 deliveries, before being picked up by Sam Curran. In the second innings, Vijay could only last five deliveries before being castled by Jamie Porter.

Ajinkya Rahane

The Indian Test vice-captain got more than decent playing time registering scores of 49 and 48. He played a total of 207 deliveries and occupied the crease for 316 minutes. He combined with the back-up wicketkeeper for the Tests, Rishabh Pant, for partnerships worth 96 and 54 in the first and second innings, respectively. With questions raised over India’s middle-order in the ODIs, a lot would be expected from Rahane in the longer format. After finding himself out of favour in the limited-over formats, the Mumbai batsman too will be eager to prove his worth with a solid showing in the Test series.

Karun Nair

The back-up middle-order batsman for the Tests and the India A skipper Karun Nair had a forgettable outing registering scores of 4 and 13. He was scalped by uncapped 20-year-old pacer Matthew Fisher in the first innings and then fell to Woakes in the second after playing 38 deliveries. Nair had scores of 20, 93, 42 and 55 prior to this game against West Indies A in the two unofficial Tests played earlier this month.

Rishabh Pant

Pant impressed with half-centuries in both the innings. He made 58 off 111 deliveries in the first innings before scoring 61 off 71 in the second. Pant was a surprise pick in the 18-member squad with experts terming the decision to hand the Delhi batsmen his maiden Test call-up a bold one. However, with a good performance against a tough bowling unit, Pant has put forward a solid case for his selection in the Test series, if first choice wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik fails to impress in the first three Tests of the series.