Seasoned Indian campaigners — Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav and Wriddhiman Saha — had decent outings in the first three-day warm up between India ‘A’ and Australia ‘A’ which ended in a draw on Tuesday at the Drummoyne Oval.
Rahane, who was leading India ‘A’, scored a total of 145 runs during the course of two innings (117* and 28) and was by far the star performer for the visitors. Pujara scored 54 runs (54 and 0) and didn’t appear to be lacking any match-practice, even though he hadn’t played any competitive cricket since the Ranji Trophy final against Bengal in March.
Saha, who couldn’t score anything in the first innings, returned with a well compiled knock of 54* in the second which helped India ‘A’ get out of troubled waters and declare their second innings on 189/9.
Umesh picked up four wickets during the course of the two innings while Ashwin scalped two wickets in the 22 overs he bowled in the first innings and looked in good rhythm.
Apart from these, rookie Mohammed Siraj also impressed with his fast bowling. Siraj picked up three wickets, conceding 102 runs in 29 overs he bowled during the course of the game.
For Australia ‘A’, century by Cameron Green in the first innings and a five-wicket haul by fast bowler Mark Steketee in the second innings were the stand-out performances.
India ‘A’ posted 247/9 declared in their first innings, riding on an unbeaten hundred from Rahane. In reply, Australia ‘A’ made 306/9 declared, thanks to unbeaten 125 from Green.
In the second innings, the visiting batsmen didn’t perform well enough and apart from Saha, who made 54* from the 100 balls he faced, none of the batters could stay long at the crease and were found wanting against the likes of Michael Neser (2/41), Steketee (5/37) and Green (2/12).
Australia ‘A’ lost the lone wicket of Joe Burns during their chase of 131 as they managed to reach 52/1 in the 15 overs they batted before Stumps on the final day of the match. Will Pucovski contributed 23 before he was retired-hurt late in the day after getting struck on the helmet by Kartik Tyagi.
Marcus Harris and skipper Travis Head remained unbeaten at the crease on 25 and 2 respectively.
The second practice game between India ‘A’ and Australia ‘A’ will be played with a pink ball from Friday at the same venue before the commencement of the much-anticipated four-Test series scheduled to start from December 17 at the Adelaide Oval.
Brief scores: India ‘A’: 247/9 decl and 189/9 decl (Saha 54; Steketee 5/37); Australia ‘A’: 306/9 decl and 52/1 (Harris 25*; Umesh 1/14)