- Haryana v England XI, Ahmedabad, 3rd day
Trott and Compton hit fifties but England learn little
Like studying for a maths exam by brushing up on the names of the Tudor monarchs, England will have gained little benefit from the third day of their game against Haryana.
On a pitch that bears no comparison to that on which the Test will be played and against opponents with little in common with those in their national team, England were obliged to spend four sessions in the field under a hot sun. They could be forgiven for having moments when they wished this was a three-day match rather than four.
The day was not completely wasted. England's bowlers, the second string though they are, will have all benefited from a thorough work-out, while Rahul Dewan enjoyed a performance he will never forget by becoming just the second Haryana batsman to carry his bat in first-class cricket. His unbeaten 144 helped Haryana to a total of 334 - their highest total this year - and ensured that his side avoided a rout. Only two other men passed 17.
Later, with England 187 runs ahead on eschewing the chance of enforcing the follow-on, Jonathan Trott and Nick Compton opened the batting and, utterly untroubled, posted an unbroken 117-run partnership to take their lead to 305 with a day remaining. But, offered only a diet of unthreatening seam bowling, they will have learned little from the experience. They faced just two overs of spin.
The conditions on offer in this match will bear little relation with those in the Test. While this game is being played on an even-paced pitch offering nothing to bowlers, the pitch in the main stadium - this game is being played on the 'B' ground - has been re-laid as recently as September. The clay content in the surface has been changed - from pond clay to farm clay - and reduced - more sand has been added - with a view to it breaking up more quickly.
While no-one can predict with any certainty how a new pitch will play - there has been no game of any note on it as yet - it appears that batting could become far more difficult as the match progresses. Winning the toss and batting first would appear to offer a disproportionate advantage.
It remains to be seen if any of England's bowlers in this game make it into the team for the first Test. While neither Steven Finn or Stuart Broad bowled in practice, they were both able to train as planned. The England camp is increasingly confident that Finn will be fit for the Test, while they remain insistent that Graeme Swann will have returned to India in good time. Matt Prior, recovered from his stomach upset, was able to play a full part on day three.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo