Chennai:India captain MS Dhoni and his teammates, except for off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, had a rigorous practice session for more than two hours at the MA Chidambaram stadium here amid tight security ahead of their first Test against England on Monday.
Sachin Tendulkar and Ishant Sharma were late by about 15 minutes in joining their teammates at the 150-minute practice session that started at 1400 hrs this afternoon. They first had light exercises including running a lap of the ground around the boundary before hitting the nets.
Tamil Nadu stars S Badrinath and M Vijay were the first to pad up for batting practice at the nets, followed by Rahul Dravid, Dhoni, Tendulkar and VVS Laxman. All the players had hits at the fast track and the spin strip for about 10 minutes each.
Dhoni was also seen behind the stunmps at the spin track, while Laxman was seen getting batting practice with a soft ball threw at him by coach Gary Kirsten.
Meanwhile, the security at the ground was kept watertight and even the electronic and print media journalists were not allowed entry inside the ground. They were asked to station at the gallery on the opposite side of the pavilion.
TNCA Secretary Kasi Viswanathan said that the ticket sales, despite the doubt about the match happening, was encouraging.
"Spectators need not have any undue worry about security and arrangement of food stalls and water facility for them. Police have made elaborate security arrangements at each of the stands at the stadium for them," he said.
For security reasons the press conferences by the two captains on practice days have been done away with though they will hold their customary match eve press conference.
The England team will have their practice session on Tuesday before the Indian team's turn in the afternoon.