One is fighting to maintain his place in the Test XI. The other is attempting a comeback. Both did themselves no harm by scoring big and helping England recover from early damage done by the Mumbai ‘A’ bowlers.
Jonny Bairstow, four Tests old, scored a patient century (118, 261m, 177b, 15x4) while left-handed Eoin Morgan came to the Test mould after being involved in a host of Twenty20 matches for his country with 76 (191m, 128b, 8x4, 1x6) on the Day 1 of their three-day practice match at the DY Patil Stadium here on Saturday. England reached 338 for six at stumps with Samit Patel going strong on 59.
Morgan and Bairstow shared 156 for the fifth wicket and batted through the second session. The two made the most of the tiring Mumbai ‘A’, who went with just three medium-pacers, thereby denying the Englishmen the much-wanted practice against spin. Spin, though, was provided to the visitors by part-timers Suryakumar Yadav, Shikhar Dhawan and Nikhil Patil (Jr) who were used to give rest to the pace trio of Kshemal Waingankar, Shardul Thakur and Javed Khan.
Morgan (26) was aggressive, typical of a limited-overs specialist. The left-handed Irish-born did not take time to switch to the longer format by playing to the merit of the ball and stepping down to the spinners on the odd occasion.
Bairstow (23) was all patience and wiped out any doubt of a niggle in the thigh by playing a long innings. Morgan was unlucky to have missed his century but Bairstow carried on. He could not hide his joy when he reached his eighth first-class century. He was sixth out but not before adding 107 with Patel.
While Bairstow and Morgan took the majority of the day’s honours, the first session belonged to the inexperienced Mumbai ‘A’ bowlers led by 27-year-old Waingankar. The medium-pacer took two of the first four wickets as England took lunch at 66 for four. Waingankar beat the defence of Nick Compton who may have lost the race to open in the Test to fellow opener Joe Root.
Root (21) was rooted to the crease. He batted for the entire morning session, showing the right attitude to play the long innings. Root may have made only 28 but that was a lot better than Compton’s twin failures of 0 at CCI and 1 here.
Jonathan Trott warmed up with 28 during a stay of more than an hour. Ian Bell was Waingankar’s second victim, the ball beautifully curving outside to catch the edge en route to Sufiyan.
England: J Root c N Patil (Jr) b Yadav 28, N Compton b Waingankar 1, J Trott c Shaikh b Khan 28, I Bell c Shaikh b Waingankar 4, E Morgan lbw b Thakur 76, J Bairstow c Dhawan b Khan 118, S Patel 59 batting, S Broad 6 batting
Extras: (4B, 3LB, 2W, 9NB) 18
Total: (for 6 wkts, 86 overs) 338
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (4.1 ov, Compton), 2-56 (17.6 ov, Trott), 3-64 (21.5 ov, Bell), 4-66, (24.5 ov, Root), 5-222 (64.1 ov, Morgan), 6-329 (84.1 ov, Bairstow)
Bowling: K Waingankar 22-6-68-2 (7NB), S Thakur 16-2-51-1 (1W), J Khan 17-1-75-2, S Dhawan 12-2-49-0, S Yadav 6-1-30-1, Shoaib Shaikh 3-0-14-0 (2NB2), N Patil (Jr) 5-0-28-0, B Thakkar 5-0-16-0 (1W)