Nick Compton is hoping to take his dream of playing for England to the next level, with a Test debut in Ahmedabad.
Compton’s unbeaten 64 on the final day of the tour match against Mumbai A means he ‘won’ his duel with Yorkshire’s Joe Root at the Dr DY Patil Sports Stadium.
The two contenders to replace retired Andrew Strauss as new Test captain Alastair Cook’s opening partner in the first of four Tests against India had two opportunities to press their claims in a match which finished in a predictable draw.
Root managed a pair of 20s but Compton, already preferred to the young Yorkshireman in the opening match against India A last week, followed his duck there and just a single in the first innings here with an increasingly confident if painstaking half-century.
“I definitely needed that,” said the 29-year-old after England had first bowled out their hosts for 286 for a lead of 59 and then closed on 149-2.
“It’s not been the ideal start, to be honest but I just think you need to give yourself a bit of time.”
Compton did not panic after his first two failures and can consider himself pencilled in for the final warm-up match against Haryana.
“It is natural in a squad that everyone is vying for a place, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have an eye on that opening spot,” he added.
“I took a bit of confidence from getting the nod in the first game and that is why I was disappointed not to take the initial chance.”
After 10 days in India, and a handful at England’s Dubai training camp before that, the experience is all Compton hoped it would be.
“It has been a dream come true,” he said. “Just to be around these guys has been fantastic, guys I’ve watched for years and look up to.
“The guys have been accepting, and I’ve loved the last 10 days – apart from the low scores.”
Compton has learned, with maturity, not to put undue pressure on himself and worked out he needed to be patient in his latest challenge, too.
“It is a new country, a new place to play, a new team – so perhaps I was a bit hard on myself,” he said.
“For me, the most important thing was to spend time in the middle, and the more balls I can face in these conditions then the better it will be.
“I’m delighted to have spent some time out there and get used to the conditions.
“I think you need a foundation, something to build on, and I feel like that has given me three hours in the middle and somewhere to go from.”
England fast bowler Stuart Broad was able to take the field yesterday but did not risk bowling after a scan revealed just bruising in his sore left heel, and they will today be joined by Stuart Meaker, called in as cover for Steven Finn (thigh), after he received his visa to travel to India.
Yuvraj Singh is on course for a possible India Test comeback after being included in their 15-man squad. Yuvraj continued his return after recovering from lung cancer when he made a half-century and took five wickets against the tourists for India A last week.
Mumbai: Mumbai A drew with England.
Overnight: England 345-9 dec (J M Bairstow 118, E J G Morgan 76, S R Patel 60), Mumbai A 232-4 (C A Pujara 87, H N Shah 84 no).
Mumbai A First Innings cont
H N Shah c Bairstow b Onions 92
N A Patil c Bell b Panesar 17
S S Shaikh not out 13
S M Shaikh c Compton b S R Patel 1
S N Thakur c Onions b Panesar 1
K Waingankar c Trott b S R Patel 14
J J Khan b S R Patel 0
Extras b6 lb2 w1 nb3 12
Total (101.4 overs) 286
Fall: 1-19 2-47 3-210 4-232 5-240 6-265 7-270 8-270 9-286.
Bowling O M R W
Anderson 20 11 40 1 Broad 10 2 19 0 Onions 16 2 57 2 Panesar 28 8 64 3 Root 13 3 43 1 S R Patel 11.4 1 44 3 Trott 3 0 11 0
England Second Innings
J E Root lbw b Thakur 24
N R D Compton not out 64
I J L Trott lbw b Yadav 30
I R Bell not out 28
Extras b1 nb2 3
Total 2 wkts (52 overs) 149
Fall: 1-38 2-95.
Did not bat: EJG Morgan, JM Bairstow, SR Patel, SCJ Broad, JM Anderson, G Onions, MS Panesar.
Bowling O M R W
Waingankar 6 1 10 0 Khan 14 2 48 0 Thakur 10 4 20 1 S S Shaikh 5 1 9 0 Yadav 12 1 38 1 Pujara 3 0 13 0 Dhawan 2 0 10 0