MUMBAI Nick Compton seized the initiative in his battle with Joe Root to become England captain Alastair Cook's opening partner in the first test against India by striking an unbeaten 64 in a warm-up game against Mumbai A on Monday.
England have brought uncapped Compton and Root to India to fill the opening spot left vacant by the retirement of Andrew Strauss after the South Africa series.
Compton, the grandson of former England batting great Denis Compton, got the nod ahead of Root in the first warm-up game while both were included for the second match ahead of the first test starting in Ahmedabad on November 15.
After scoring nought and one in his two previous innings since arriving in India, Compton showed good application during his 162-ball knock in the second innings of the drawn three-day match.
"As a squad everyone is trying to vie for that place and I would be lying if I said that I didn't have an eye on that opening spot and take a bit of confidence from getting the nod in the first game," Compton, 29, told reporters.
"So obviously that probably was pretty disappointing not to have taken that initial chance.
"This innings was just nice to kick on and probably get a score that I did desperately need.
"For me it was just very important to get back into that mindset of scoring runs, spending time in the middle. Today I just felt that my balance was lot better, my leaving was lot more assured and I played the balls I had to."
The 21-year-old Root got a start in both innings (28 and 24) but failed to push on and Compton felt that spending time in the middle was the key to batting well in India.
"I thought Joe played well in the first innings, looked good and batted for good period of time," the South Africa-born right-handed batsman said.
"It's not been the ideal start I must be honest but I think sometimes you just got to give yourselves a bit of time. It does take time, it's a new country, a new place to play with a new bunch of team mates.
"I think to me the most important thing is to spend some time out in the middle and get used to the conditions."
England will play their final practice match against Haryana from Thursday before the first of four tests begins. (Editing by Mark Meadows)