Bharat ton puts India A in driver’s seat
BENGALURU : India A put up a dominant display in the third day of the second four-day unofficial Test against Australia A at KSCA ground in Alur on Monday.The day primarily belonged to K Srikar Bharat, who scored 106 to help the home team reach 505. Their spinners’ fine show in the final hour — scalping two wickets — proved to be the icing on the cake.
The wicketkeeper batsman walked in after skipper Shreyas Iyer exited after notching up 42. After the visitors missed some half chances to send him back, the Andhra man gained confidence. Besides Bharat, Shubman Gill looked in good form, batting with ease against both spinners and pacers. However, Chris Tremain castled his stumps after the Punjab lad hit a stroke-filled 76-ball 50, which included seven hits to the fence. Though Krishnappa Gowtham (20) and Deepak Chahar (6) failed to impress, Bharat looked better with every passing over.
His front-foot defence against spinners was spot on, and he knew where his off-stump was when confronted against pacers. Bharat needed someone to hang around in order to score big, and that person happened to be Kuldeep Yadav. Bharat completed his century in 175 balls. His innings was studded with 12 fours and one six. Kuldeep not only hung around, but also hit an important half-century with gentle flicks and glances. The two were involved in a solid partnership of 113, which put India in a strong position.
With a 159-run lead, India were always going to attack Australia A batsmen in the second innings, with the visitors keen to see off 14 overs left in the day’s play without losing any wickets.But that did not happen. Shahbaz Nadeem, who shared the new ball with Chahar, troubled the opponents, asking many a question to both the openers: Kurtis Patterson and Matthew Renshaw.
The pressure that was built by them paid off at the other end as Gowtham sent back Patterson in the ninth over. Nadeem also got his man, Renshaw, in the 12th over. With India scalping two big wickets, they are in the driver’s seat, heading into the final day. The spinners will have an important role to play if the home team are to emerge victorious and level the series 1-1.
Brief scores: Australia A 346 & 38/2 in 14 ovs vs India A 505 in 144 ovs (R Samarth 83, AR Easwaran 86, Shreyas Iyer 42, Shubman Gill 50, KS Bharat 106, Kuldeep Yadav 52; Chris Tremain 3/41, Ashton Agar 3/87).