Pacers Umesh Umesh and Ishant Sharma shared four wickets between them, in the absence of injured R. Aswhin, as the Essex batsmen made India toil hard and reached 237 for five on the second day of the three-day practice game, here on Thursday.

India, which resumed at 322 for six, leads by 158 runs after finishing at 395.

Off-spinner Ashwin injured his right hand during practice and did not take the field at all. According to the team management, it is not a serious injury. Ashwin did bowl in the nets during the lunch break, but , as a precaution, did not take the field.

Shami good but…

Umesh (two for 23) was the pick of the bowlers as he bowled a superb opening spell with the new ball. Mohammed Shami, who shared the first-spell duties with him, kept things tight but couldn’t generate the movement his partner did.

Umesh provided the breakthrough, trapping Nick Browne (11) leg-before early. He used the new ball to shape it away nicely from the right-handers, while bringing it back in to the left-handed opener, and that’s how he got the wicket.

Ishant Sharma (two for 38) also started off well and trapped Varun Chopra (16) but struggled to control the line towards the latter half of his first spell and proved expensive thereafter.

Tom Westley, who stroked his way to 57 with 11 fours, played quite a few streaky shots, especially against Hardik Pandya (0-41), easily India’s second-best bowler.

Michael Pepper defied the Indian bowling and stroked his way to 68 off 74 balls, inclusive of 15 fours, against a Test-quality attack.

Earlier, Dinesh Karthik was out caught on the first ball of the day. Hardik (51) then went on to complete his half-century off 81 balls, a vital knock in the context of the ensuing five-Test series.

Pant delights

Karun Nair got out cheaply as he played on. But Rishabh Pant (34 not out), sent to bat at No. 11 as Ashwin was injured, regaled the Essex faithful with some good stroke-making while hitting six sizzling boundaries.

The scores: India — 1st innings: M. Vijay b Walter 53, Shikhar Dhawan c Foster b Coles 0, Cheteshwar Pujara c Foster b Coles 1, Ajinkya Rahane c Foster b Quinn 17, Virat Kohli c Chopra b Walter 68, K.L. Rahul c Dixon b Nijjar 58, Dinesh Karthik c Dixon b Walter 82, Hardik Pandya c Patel b Walter 51, Karun Nair b Beard 4, Ravindra Jadeja c (sub) b Dixon 15, Rishabh Pant (not out) 34; Extras (b-5, lb-5, nb-1, w-1): 12; Total (in 100.2 overs): 395.

Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-5, 3-44, 4-134, 5-147, 6-261, 7-322, 8-328, 9-354.

Essex bowling: Coles 17-2-31-2, Quinn 15-4-27-1, Beard 20-2-99-1, Dixon 14.2-1-54-1, Walter 21-1-113-4, Nijjar 9-0-36-1, Snater 4-0-25-0.

Essex — 1st innings: Nick Browne lbw b Umesh 11, Varun Chopra lbw b Ishant 16, Tom Westley c Jadeja b Shardul 57, Michael-Kyle Pepper b Ishant 68, Rishi Patel c Karthik b Umesh 19, James Foster (batting) 23, Paul Walter (batting) 22; Extras (b-14, lb-4, nb-3): 21; Total (for five wkts. in 58 overs): 237.

Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-45, 3-113, 4-169, 5-186.

India bowling: Shami 14-0-59-0, Umesh 14-7-23-2, Ishant 10-2-38-2, Hardik 9-1-41-0, Shardul 9-0-41-1, Jadeja 2-0-17-0

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