Taunton: India's difficult preparations ahead of the first Test continued as their big-name batting order stumbled against Charl Willoughby after watching Somerset pile up 425 for 3 at Taunton. Willoughby claimed 5 for 50, including four scalps in his opening spell, and was backed up by his team-mates as the visitors closed on 138 for 8 with the follow-on looming, although the hosts are unlikely to enforce it.
Heavy rain then frequent showers delayed play until mid-afternoon and Somerset batted on until shortly before the 100-over allocation of their first innings. It then took the home side less than 18 overs to take more wickets than the visitors managed in 96 as Willoughby, the former South Africa seamer, cut through a star-studded line-up. The home side bowled far better than the Indians, finding a hint of swing, but were aided by some poor shots and not just from players who have been on the sidelines.
The Indians began briskly as Gautam Gambhir, returning from the shoulder injury that kept him out of the West Indies tour, collected five confident boundaries. But he seemed in too much of a rush and fell chasing a delivery he could barely reach, edging it to the keeper. Abhinav Mukund, who is set to open the batting in the absence of Virender Sehwag, was more circumspect and didn't seem happy with his lbw decision which left India 51 for 2 and brought Sachin Tendulkar to the crease.