The art of swing bowling by Mumbai ‘A’ worked wonders against a set of tyros — Nick Compton and Joe Root — and seasoned campaigners —Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell — all looking to make good scores in the second tour game that began at the D.Y. Patil Stadium here on Saturday.
The home team chose three seamers to get the ball to do a bit in the air and nip off the wicket, and the gamble paid off initially.
Given the helpful conditions of the surface, Kshemal Waingankar and Javed Khan turned out to be the stars.
But Jonny Bairstow — with four Tests and 61 first class matches under his belt — showed the commitment to bail his team out of trouble.
He became the third batsman on the tour to make a century (118, 177b, 15x4). Thanks to him England recovered from a precarious 66 for four to 338 for six at close.
For some strange reason, Mumbai ‘A’ did not pick leg-spinner Sagar Gorivale.
But, Surya Kumar Yadav brought an end to Root’s near two-hour resolve, making him play straight to short-leg.
England spent the better part of the day in recovery mode with Eoin Morgan, Bairstow and Samit Patel bringing their professional approach to the fore.
New opening pair
Mumbai ‘A’ lacked an inspiring burst from its seamers after Bell’s dismissal in order to make its overall work more rewarding.
England sent out a new pair to open the innings — Compton (third ball duck in the first tour game against India ‘A’) and Root — with the main objective of seeing at least one or both emerging with a fighting knock and staking a claim for the vacant opener’s slot caused by the retirement of Andrew Strauss.
As he announced on Friday evening, Alastair Cook, after a morale-boosting century in the first tour game, made way for vice-captain Stuart Broad.
Cook’s decision to rest also provided an opportunity for Root to open the innings.
England made several changes to the team that played against India ‘A’ bringing in, apart from Broad and Root, left-hand batsman Morgan, right-hander Bairstow, seamer Graham Onions and left-arm spinner Monty Panesar.
After a few limbering up overs, Waingankar drew first blood when he beat Compton to knock down his off-stump.
Mumbai ‘A’ met with more success when Javed Khan broke the second-wicket stand between Root and Trott.
He forced an error from Trott, who spent more than an hour to make 28 runs.
Then Waingankar, in his second spell, produced a fine delivery and Bell nicked it to Sufiyan Shaikh.
Root, who did not hit a single shot worthy of note, provided the fourth wicket at the stroke of lunch to the rival captain.
Morgan learnt the lessons of playing in Indian conditions spending a little over three hours to make a half-century.
But for the second time in as many innings, Patel caught the attention with some brisk scoring.
England: J. Root c N. Patil (jr.) b Yadav 28, N. Compton b Waingankar 1, J. Trott c Sufiyan Shaikh b Javed Khan 28, I. Bell c Sufiyan Shaikh b Waingankar 4, E. Morgan lbw b Thakur 76, J. Bairstow c Dhawan b Javed Khan 118, S. Patel (batting) 59, S. Broad (batting) 6; Extras (b-4, lb-3, nb-9, w-2): 18; Total (for six wkts. in 86 overs): 338.
Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-56, 3-64, 4-66, 5-222, 6-329.
Mumbai ‘A’ bowling: Waingankar 22-6-68-2, Thakur 16-2-51-1, Javed Khan 17-1-75-2, Dhawan 12-2-49-0, Yadav 6-1-30-1, Shoaib Shaikh 3-0-14-0, Patil (jr.) 5-0-28-0, Thakkar 5-0-16-0.