India A collapsed to 163 all out on a turning track as left-arm spinner Jon Holland took a six-wicket haul to set up a 98-run victory for Australia A in the first unofficial Test at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru Wednesday.
Holland bagged nine wickets in the match, surpassing his previous best of 8 for 68 in the longer format of the game. In the second innings, he bagged six wickets for 81 runs.
Australia A made a brilliant comeback in the match after they had been skittled out for 243 after the devastating bowling performance by pacer Mohammed Siraj, who ended up with a career-best figures of 8 for 59 in the first innings.
The visitors then restricted India A to 274 all out in their first innings with Michael Neser and Holland, sharing seven wickets among themselves.
Though conceding 31 runs lead, Australia did well to post 292 all out in their second innings, setting a 262-run target, after Travis Head made a crucial 87 on a wearing track.
Resuming at overnight 63 for 2 on fourth and final day’s play, India A lost wickets at regular intervals before they folded their second innings at 163.
Opener Mayank Agarwal, who was batting at overnight score of 25, scored a plucky 80. He was the only batsman who weathered Australian attack led by Holland.
At 106 for three after Ankit Bawne’s departure (25), India A lost three quick wickets, including Srikar Bharat and Krishnappa Gowtham’s, who failed to open their accounts.
Holland and Brendan Doggett ran through the lower order batsmen by sharing four wickets among themselves, as India A slumped from 126 for 6 to 163 all out.
India A coach Rahul Dravid said that inform batsman Ankit Bawne’s wicket was probably the turning point of the game.
“May be, Ankit’s wicket could have been the turning point. It was unfortunate that the way he got out. If Mayank and Bawne had batted a bit longer. so who knows,” he told reporters at the post-match press conference.
Dravid also felt the team’s batting could have been better as except Mayank Agarwal and Ankit Bawne, no other batsmen managed to cope up with the turning ball on a deteriorating pitch.
“It was not an easy wicket to bat on. Ankit (91 in first innings) and Mayank (80 in second innings) showed how to get runs. Unfortunately, not more than a couple of our guys did that. But overall, it was a good challenge and learning experience for our players,” Dravid said.
Dravid, however, praised the bowlers, especially Siraj who restricted Australia A to 243 in first innings.
“We were in fact 127 for five but fought back well to get 270 odd (in the first innings). Perhaps, what we required was a few more runs in the lead considering the fact that we are going to bat last. It was that kind of wicket that was going to get progressively worse,” he said.
On Siraj, he said: “He is bowling in right areas and he is getting that extra zip and pace off the wicket. At a time like this, when one’s confidence is up it’s not a wise thing to tinker too much.”