A haze hung in the air as the sun dipped early, with the gradual onset of winter. But at the Ferozeshah Kotla Ground here on Friday, there was much cause for cheer thanks to the sound of willow on red cherry as the Indian team trained ahead of the first Test against the West Indies.

The trio of Sachin Tendulkar (inflamed toe), Virender Sehwag (right shoulder) and Yuvraj Singh (broken finger), who were all part of the walking-wounded during varying stages of the disastrous England tour, were in their element at the nets.

Ishant Sharma, who has recovered from a left ankle strain, was also an active presence and along with R. Ashwin, had first strike at the nets with coach Duncan Fletcher keeping a close watch, while the more acclaimed Tendulkar, Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, V.V.S. Laxman, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj practised later.

The entire team was present after the players trickled into Delhi in the morning. Lack of adequate pre-booked rooms on Thursday had forced re-scheduling of the training programme.

Spinners — Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha and Rahul Sharma — were a busy lot, bowling, discussing issues and also finding encouragement from an enthusiastic Tendulkar. Skipper M.S. Dhoni took his catches, indulged in throw-downs to Laxman and batted as the Indians showed intent ahead of the Test series.

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