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Practice match, Day 2: India lead by 82 runs at stumps, Pant shines for Leicestershire

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Leicester, June 25 (IANS) India were 80-1 in their second innings at stumps on Day 2, taking a lead of 82 runs against Leicestershire County Club in their practice match, here on Friday.

After bowling out Leicestershire for 244, skipper Rohit Sharma didn’t open the innings for India in the second innings and instead sent KS Bharat after the wicket-keepers’ first-innings half-century (70 not out) helped them declare at 246/8.

Bharat’s impressive batting continued into the second innings as he and Gill got off to a flying start. Gill (38) looked commanding in his early stroke-play but was caught on the crease, pushing away from the body, falling to the extra bounce of Navdeep Saini, leaving India at 62-1 in the 13.1 over.

From there on, Bharat (31) and Hanuma Vihari (9) remained unbeaten and will resume the batting for India on Day 3.

Earlier, Rishabh Pant was the star of the Leicestershire innings. He came to bat as early as the 14th over, at 44 for 3, one of the wickets being Cheteshwar Pujara, who was dismissed for a duck by Mohammed Shami.

Pant came out the better in his exchange with Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur (Jasprit Bumrah represented Leicestershire) by playing both orthodox and innovative shots, to score 76 off 87 balls in response to the Indians’ first-innings score of 246, declared overnight.

The left-handed batter took on all the seamers, scoring 26 off 30 balls from Shami, 20 off 23 against Siraj and 13 off 12 when facing Umesh. He went from 45 off 72 to 70 from 82, unleashing extra-cover drives, paddle sweeps off the quicks, and nonchalant short-arm jabs.

However, in the end, Pant fell to his natural strength — left-arm spin. He tried to slog-sweep Ravindra Jadeja, but the lack of turn took the outer edge for a high catch at long-on. Jadeja also boosted his chances to get a place in the first XI after he picked three wickets in just eight overs.

Brief score: India 246 for 8 dec (KS Bharat 70, Walker 5-24) and 80 for 1 (Gill 38, Bharat 31 not out) lead Leicestershire 244 (Pant 76, Jadeja 3-28, Shami 3-42) by 82 runs

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