No match, just practice

Shikhar DhawanShikhar Dhawan prepares for his nets session with a walk around Willowmoore Park woth coach Trevor Penney. The Benoni match was abandoned.

As the Indian team drove here bright and early on Friday morning their looked forward to gaining some valuable match-practice against a decent quality opposition. Unfortunately, the ground had hardly recovered from the fury of rain that it had received over the last few days. And despite Willowmoore Park basking in sunshine, there were too many wet spots around to ensure that the visitors' two-day fixture against the South African Invitation XI had to be called off on Friday itself.

And India had to be content with centre-wicket nets' practice on ironically the sunniest and brightest day of their tour so far. But it didn't look like the Indians were complaining as they dove head-long into a nearly three-hour long session. Their already curtailed tour had just been reduced further with their only shot at further acclimatization having taken a blow.

"We can't do too much about the rain. But we are just happy with getting more practice under our belt. They couldn't have shifted the match at the last minute owing to the security issues," said a team official.

Coach Duncan Fletcher was the busiest man on the field, starting off with dishing out slip catching practice to the likes of Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and R Ashwin. He then turning his attention to his Test specialists Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara as they padded up for their respective stints in the nets.

While Vijay looked comfortable against Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami, he did get beaten on a few occasions outside his off-stump by Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma, who seemed to have regained his rhythm after his four-wicket burst at Centurion. Fletcher was straight into action and in the right-handed opener's ear as he reached the non-striker's end. During his next stint, Vijay seemed to focus on leaving as many deliveries as possible as he received the coach's constant acknowledgment from the back of the net.

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