England started their second warmup match, this one against Mumbai A, early this morning/late last night. Most of the regulars sat out this time, but there were a pair of battles of note. Joe Root and Nick Compton went head-to-head at the top of the order as they each vied for the now-vacant spot alongside Alastair Cook and Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan both batted in the middle order as they looked to get the nod to replace Ian Bell when he returns to England for the birth of his child. Graham Onions also played, but Tim Bresnan did not which suggests that Bresnan already has the last bowling place.
There have been some oddities in the selection for this match, chief amongst them Alastair Cook sitting out. I can understand this from the standpoint of wanting all the players to get a match at some point and wanting the likely Test team, or most of it, to play in the final warmup. This means that Root, Compton, Morgan and Baristow all have to play in this match which in turn means that some of the regulars have to sit out and it is better that the centurion does so then someone like Ian Bell who made only five in the first warmup. But at the same time Cook is a new captain and it is important that he stamp his authority on the side. I think it is a bit early for him to be sitting out matches, even if there is a good reason. I would rather see him getting used to his new charges and possibly more importantly making sure that they are used to him. There is also the fact that Broad sat out the first warmup and will likely sit out the last one as well since England will want Stuart Meaker to get a game after being drafted late into the squad as cover for Steven Finn. This means that Cook will not have a single warmup match with his vice-captain before the first Test. This is not a disaster, certainly, but it hardly seems ideal either.
As far as actual selection issues, we have learnt a bit from the first day. Compton failed again, making only one, but Root did not really make the most of this as he fell for only 28. By all accounts Root did look the more settled and composed, but given that he started out as the second favourite he probably needed a big score to put him in front of Compton. England batted first this time, so they each should get another chance in the second innings as well. Bairstow made a century to advance his claims for the reserve middle order spot, but Morgan made 76 as well so it is not fully settled yet. That said, unlike Compton and Root there is previous Test history to consider with Morgan and Bairstow and that also favours Bairstow. Morgan really should not have even been on the plane. The selectors have been inexplicably favourable to Morgan, but Bairstow should have done enough today to secure the spot as Bell’s deputy. Tomorrow/tonight we should see England bowl and see if Onions and Monty Panesar can put any doubts in the selectors’ minds about Bresnan, as well as just how bad an idea it was to let Broad be vice-captain.