Nick Compton staked his claim to the vacant England Test opener's slot today with a timely return to form in an unbeaten half-century as the three-day tour match in Mumbai ended in a draw. In another piece of good news for the tourists, match captain Stuart Broad took the field after a scan on his heel revealed just bruising, though he did not risk bowling.
Compton is competing with Joe Root to open the batting alongside Alastair Cook in the first Test, which starts in Ahmedabad on 15 November. The two contenders opened together against Mumbai A in England's second tour match, in which Root followed up his first-innings 28 with 24 yesterday while Compton's three-hour 64 not out – after making just one in the first dig – included two half-century stands with Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell.
The Somerset opener was a mightily relieved man. "I definitely needed that," he said. "It's not been the ideal start, to be honest, but I just think you need to give yourself a bit of time."
Compton, 29, made a duck in the tour curtain-raiser against India A last week, but yesterday's innings should make him favourite to start the final warm-up game against Haryana on Thursday.
Compton is very clear about his ultimate ambition in India. "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 admitted. "I took a bit of confidence from getting the nod in the first game, [so] I was disappointed not to take the initial chance."
A grandson of England legend Denis Compton, the South Africa-born Nick said he has loved his time on tour. "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. I've loved the last 10 days – apart from the low scores.
"It is a new country, a new place to play, a new team – so perhaps I was a bit hard on myself [about those two early failures with the bat]. For me the most important thing was to spend time in the middle, and the more balls I face in these conditions the better.
"I think you need a foundation, something to build on, and I feel like that three hours in the middle has given me somewhere to go from. I got the balance back and the feet going."
Of Broad, Compton said: "I'm sure we'll know more about it in the next couple of days. He was running around OK here. I hope it is just a case of looking after him."
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