Middle-order help India recover on day 1 of practice match

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Chelmsford, July 26 (IANS) Wicketkeeper batsmen Dinesh Karthik’s unbeaten 82 run knock along with useful contributions from Virat Kohli and Lokesh RahulAhelped India post 322/6 on the opening day of the three-day warm-up game against Essex at County Ground here on Wednesday.

After a shaky start, losing three wickets for 44 runs, skipper Kohli (68), Rahul (58) and Karthik, who will keep wickets for India in the Tests in the absence of Wriddhiman Saha, took India out of troubled waters. Opener Murali Vijay (53) also contributed handsomely.

It was a poor day for Shikhar Dhawan (0), Cheteshwar Pujara (1) and Ajinkya Rahane (17) as the trio failed to click in the practice game, which was cut short by a day.

Karthik and Hardik Pandya (33) were at the crease when umpires dislodged the bails for the day.

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Electing to bat, India got the start which they never wanted. The visitors lost their first wicket on the third ball of the first over as Dhawan was caught by J. Foster off Matt Coles.

With just five runs on the board, Coles took another wicket and this time it was experienced batsman Pujara.

Unperturbed by the fall of two quick wickets, Vijay kept on playing sensibly.

New batsman Rahane then joined Vijay in the middle and the duo stitched a small partnership but soon India lost their third wicket. In the 18th over, Rahane was sent packing by Matthew Quinn.

After three wickets down, middle-order batsmen Kohli, Rahul, Karthik and Pandya stabilized the innings and helped India recover from the early wobble.

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For Essex, Coles and Paul Walter took two wickets while Quinn and Aron Nijjar chipped in with one wicket each.

Brief scores: India 322/6 (Dinesh Karthik 82 not out, Virat Kohli 68; Matt Coles 2-31) against Essex.

–IANS

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