After a brave show on Day 1, India ‘A’ were pushed on the backfoot courtesy a fine fifty by Australia ‘A’ bastman Ben Cutting and a three-wicket haul by pacer Chadd Sayers on the second day of the final unofficial Test at Allan Border Field on Monday.
Responding to 423 by Australia ‘A’ in the four-day game, the visitors ended on 165 for three today with Manoj Tiwary (50 not out) and Baba Aparajith (20 not out) fighting on.
India ‘A’ still trail the hosts by 258 runs. Australia ‘A’ medium-pacer Sayers (3/22) sent opener Robin Uthappa for 10 and then cleaned up Lokesh Rahul for 52, who notched up his eighth first-class fifty.
Karnataka batsman Lokesh looked solid in his 102-ball stay as his innings was laced by seven boundaries and a six.
He did put on a 67-run second-wicket partnership with Jiwanjot Singh.
Sayers struck again for the final time of the day to get Singh caught behind for 29 and put the visitors in trouble again.
Aparajith and Tiwary then stuck together to manage an unbeaten 69-run partnership and give the team hope for the next day’s play.
Earlier starting on the overnight score of 288 for seven,the Aussies picked up the strings from last evening as Cutting (96) and Cameron Boyce (57) continued the counter-attack to stitch a 133-run eight-wicket partnership.
Playing on his home turf, Cutting combined the right dose of caution and aggression to trouble the Indian bowlers and hit five fours and four sixes in his 117-ball innings.
Off-spinner Aparajith broke the partnership after scalping Boyce with Uthappa pulling off a neat catch.
Umesh Yadav (5/83), who had picked up three wickets on Sunday, bagged a five-wicket haul while Amit Mishra had to remain content with 4/142.
On the opening day, Australia ‘A’ won the toss and elected to bat with skipper James Faulkner scoring a brave 94 alongwith Peter Forrest, who also contributed a strokeful 77.
For India ‘A’, Yadav and Mishra bowled well yesterday only to give away the advantage on the next morning.