Tour match: India ease to warm-up victory against Derbyshire
Last Updated: 03/07/14 6:09pm
Murali Vijay: India opener retired after making 41
India coasted to a five-wicket win over Derbyshire in their final warm-up match before the first Test against England.
A desultory last day at the County Ground at least brought the right result for the tourists, who can travel on to Trent Bridge in the knowledge too that there has been a gradual if much-needed improvement from their seam attack.
That was the most pressing objective after Ishant Sharma, in particular, and others took a caning from a second-string line-up at Leicester last week.
Here too, India were up against unheralded opponents in another match relieved of its first-class status by the tourists' wish to rotate as many of their 18-strong squad as they deemed appropriate.
Collective preparation to face England in Nottingham, and beyond, was therefore undoubtedly the prime concern - but a win to cheer them on their short trip east was handy too.
It was duly achieved after Derbyshire accrued only 156-3 in the second innings before their mandatory 45-over declaration, leaving India only 142 to win in an equal share of the scheduled 90.
The early departure of Shikhar Dhawan, lbw to one that kept a shade low from Matt Higginbottom, put India marginally on the back foot.
But Dhawan's opening partner Murali Vijay clicked into form for next week, with his highest score of the tour so far.
He forewent the opportunity of a cheap 50, becoming the seventh batsman to retire out in two matches.
Ajinkya Rahane was the eighth, and then Rohit Sharma edged a drive at David Wainwright to slip - allowing Gautam Gambhir batting practice instead as India eased over the line with 8.3 overs to spare.
Home progress before lunch had been tortuous.
A slow but even pitch was previously used for Twenty20 fixtures before this fixture, and it was no easy task for the batsmen to press on.
Third-wicket pair Paul Borrington and Billy Godleman (56no) were nonetheless conspicuously unhurried as they added 30 in 83 balls.
Derbyshire lost opener Ben Slater, edging Bhuvneshwar Kumar to second slip for a duck, before they re-established credit after India's overnight declaration by pre-arrangement on 341-6.
They might have been two down while still behind, had Stuart Binny held a tough chance at midwicket from Chesney Hughes' fierce pull at Kumar.
Derbyshire's captain therefore escaped on seven but did go when an attempted cut off Binny was edged behind to give the all-rounder a wicket with only his second delivery after replacing Kumar.
First-change Ishant appeared to be in better rhythm than in the first innings here or at Grace Road, but was still prone to over-stepping - and a no-ball robbed him of an opening maiden.
Stoic opener Borrington had made 10 from 51 balls when Ishant had him edging to second slip too, but this time Vijay put down a straightforward chance.
Ishant was able to dictate to Borrington especially as he got through a spell of 7-1-10-0.
In 16 overs after lunch, though, Derbyshire burst into a canter to put on another 94 runs for the loss of only Borrington's wicket.
He hit his first boundary, a square-drive on the up off some width offered by Binny, from the 92nd delivery he faced - only to go lbw soon afterwards, aiming runs to leg off Mohammed Shami.
Godleman then doubled the total in a brisk, unbroken stand with the instantly fluent Alex Hughes (36no), in which the left-hander posted his second 50 of the match - ultimately at a decent tempo, from 76 balls, and including one memorable pull off a Shami bouncer in his seven fours.
It was still nowhere near what was required to stretch India's batsmen.