Mukund shines as India's batting falter again

Abhinav Mukund in action on his way to a gritty century during the two-day practice match against Northamptonshire Getty Images

By Ashish Shukla

Northampton: Aug 5, 2011

Abhinav Mukund shone with a fluent century after Virender Sehwag made a disappointing return to cricket as India scored 327 for seven on the first day of their warm-up match against Northamptonshire on Friday.

Though the visitors made enough runs, the ones who needed to prosper again drew blank on a track that was not really conducive for pace bowlers.

Most of the top-order batsmen were again found wanting against a mediocre attack on a far from intimidating track.

The much-heralded return of Sehwag (8) ended early and Gautam Gambhir (18) was also back in the hut in the first session. In the final two hours, the failures of MS Dhoni (2) and Suresh Raina (33) rankled the visitors.

Sehwag batted for just 30 minutes in the Indian innings, before he was adjudged lbw to fast bowler David Burton, who has not represented Northants in a first-class match since September 2010.

In between, left-hander Abhinav Mukund (113), VVS Laxman (49) and Amit Mishra (48 not out) helped themselves to some useful runs, but the other batsmen’s failures hardly lifted the mood in the camp.

While Sehwag and Gambhir fell leg before wicket in the pre-lunch session, Dhoni and Raina departed in the final session after being squared up Luke Evans’ lifting deliveries.

Dhoni strode to the middle after young Mukund was made to retire on his tea-time score of 113.

Mukund’s innings is good news for the Indians as Suesh Raina, the other left-hander, did not seem too comfortable against the short-pitched stuffs.

Mukund reached his century when he drove Best down the ground for a single. He had till then faced 138 balls and hit 17 fours.

However, what is worrying for the India camp is its captain’s form.

The world-cup winning captain faced no less than 13 balls and flirted with danger on a couple of occasions before making his way back to the pavilion.

Raina departed in the very next over. While trying to hook Evans, the batsman only managed an edge to the wicketkeeper.

Evans is a tall right-arm bowler but has not been considered good enough to make the first eleven for Northamptonshire, who incidentally are competing in Division 2 of County Championship.

The young pace attack of Northamptonshire went flat out but the wicket, certainly, was not to their liking.

Brief Scores: India 327 for 7 (Abhinav Mukund 113, VVS Laxman 49; Luke Evans 2 for 60, Lee Daggett 1 for 52) vs Northamptonshire

Full Scorecard