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Monday, January 25, 2021

India vs Australia A: Batsmen struggle, but pacers make full use of helpful conditions

Twenty wickets fell on the day, with the Indians scoring 194 and Australia A bundled out for 108 in reply.

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Updated: December 12, 2020 7:55:17 am
india vs aus aJasprit Bumrah (55) scored his first ever First Class half-century against Australia A. (Twitter/BCCI)

If the first day of the day-night tour game between the Indians and Australia A in Sydney is a precursor to what might follow in Adelaide – the venue for the first Test under lights – in about a week’s time, batters better be prepared to endure adversity.

Twenty wickets fell on the day, with the Indians scoring 194 and Australia A bundled out for 108 in reply. The ball moved in the air and off the deck, jumping awkwardly at times as well.

Jasprit Bumrah’s maiden first-class half-century (55 not out) gave India’s total some respectability. He swung the bat and added 71 runs with Mohammed Siraj (22) for the last wicket. A straight drive from him struck Cameron Green on the head on his follow-through, forcing the all-rounder to sub out of the game with a “mild” concussion.

Overall, though, India’s batting, without Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, didn’t fare well against the pink ball. But the bowlers made amends. Here’s how they performed…

Mayank Agarwal

During his brief stay, Agarwal was playing from the crease and as he tried a forcing shot off the backfoot to a back-of-a-length delivery from Sean Abbott, he edged to first slip. Agarwal’s approach was tentative and his body wasn’t in the right position to play the shot.

Prithvi Shaw

Shaw played to his strengths, all-out attack. When Australia A bowlers offered width, he slapped the ball square of the wicket. A scorching drive past bowler Harry Conway barely allowed the fielders to move. Then again, Shaw’s game is fraught with risk as well, and an outside edge from an attempted drive flew past third slip. He scored 40 runs off 29 balls, hitting eight fours. But his footwork, at times, didn’t inspire confidence. He was dismissed, leaving a big gap between bat and pad.

Shubman Gill

During his 58-ball 43, Gill oozed class. Conditions were tough. Batsmen had to be ready to get an unplayable ball anytime. Gill made the most of run-scoring deliveries. A six over long- leg off a short ball from Abbott was excellent. Gill got out to a very good ball from Green. But the youngster showed enough mettle to be firmly in the scheme of things for the first Test.

Ajinkya Rahane

Rahane played aggressive cricket to score a century in the first tour game. On Friday also, he played a gorgeous pull shot against Jack Wildermuth. He got out next ball, trying to play another forcing shot. But the positivity in Rahane’s approach was refreshing.

Cameron Green was struck on the head by a Jasprit Bumrah shot. (Screenshot)

Hanuma Vihari

He hit two fours but fell prey to a misjudgement.

Rishabh Pant

Australia A bowlers set him up with short deliveries before Wildermuth bowled a full one on the stumps and trapped him leg-before.

Wriddhiman Saha

His scored a match-saving half-century in the first tour game. On Friday, he got a good ball from Abbott. However, Saha didn’t ‘keep when Australia A batted. Pant took the gloves instead.

India’s bowling

The team would be happy to see that despite an elongated long-form hiatus, both Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah hit their straps straightaway. They had the advantage of bowling under lights and the two quicks sent down some unplayable deliveries. Bumrah bowled a beauty to dismiss struggling opener Joe Burns, giving the Aussie selectors more headaches when it comes to selecting the opening pair for Adelaide.

Shami dismissed Marcus Harris and Ben McDermott inside six deliveries to turn the game in India’s favour. Shami returned with three wickets, while Bumrah bagged two. Siraj (2/33) and Navdeep Saini (3/19), too, enjoyed bowling in favourable conditions.

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