BENGALURU: It was a rare sight when India A came to bat in the second innings against Australia A in the final 45 minutes of the second four-day unofficial Test on Tuesday. With 55 runs required from eight overs, India A went into the T20 mode at the KSCA ground in Alur and levelled the series 1-1. India tinkered their batting line-up for the second innings.
They opened with Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill, instead of Ravikumar Samarth and Abhimanyu Easwaran. But things did not go as planned as the home team lost three wickets for 11 runs in 13 balls. Despite the poor start, brilliant cameos from KS Bharat (six-ball 12) and Ankit Bawne (28 runs off 18 balls) helped India A emerge victorious.
“There was a great feeling after the win. We wanted to beat them as they had several Test players in the team. We lost the first game of the series and we were desperate to win this contest,” said Bawne. The visiting team’s intent was clear from the start of the day. They did not want to throw their wickets easily. The batsmen defended tightly against Indian spinners, who bowled 90.5 overs in the second innings. But Australia A struggled to score in the initial phase as they hit only six runs from the first ten overs. The spin trio of Shahbaz Nadeem, Kuldeep Yadav and Krishnappa Gowtham did their best to break the big partnership between Travis Head and Peter Handscomb, but the Mitchell Marsh-led team didn’t lose wickets in the first session.
Australia A was also helped by Indian fielders as Head was dropped twice. But India A were not willing to throw in their towel despite a dry first two hours. Bawne felt that the opponents showed great character in the middle. “I think the Australians (first session) batted very well. They applied themselves brilliantly. They did not play many shots. But today, they backed their defence and played defensively,” added the right-hander. Post-lunch, India A realised the importance of breaking the partnership and they delivered. Left-arm spinner Nadeem and Deepak Chahar removed Head and new batsman Marnus Labuschagne in successive overs.
But India’s job was still not over as Marsh and Handscomb continued to take on spinners. But India showed determination. They got back into the game by dismissing Handscomb and Marsh in a span of 37 runs. The score read 197/7. From there on it was not much of a difficulty as India bowled them out for 213. email@example.com Brief scores: Australia A 346 & 213 in 102.5 ovs (Head 47, Handscomb 56; Gowtham 3/39, Kuldeep 3/46) lost to India A 505 & 55/4 in 6.2 ovs.