BENGALURU: Skipper Mitchell Marsh batted responsibly for his unbeaten 86 as Australia A scored 290 for six on the opening day of the second unofficial ‘Test’ match.
Opting to bat, Australia A were in trouble at 180 for six before Marsh and pacer Michael Neser (44 batting) added 110 runs for the unbroken seventh wicket stand.
Marsh played 151 balls so far, hitting 13 boundaries while Neser has also played 108 balls hitting six fours in the process.
Among the top order, No 3 Travis Head (68) and opener Kurtis Patterson (48) added 92 runs for the second wicket before a middle-order collapse occurred.
Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav (2/68) and left-arm orthodox Shahbaz Nadeem (2/64) were the most successful bowlers.
Off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham (1/60) and Rajneesh Gurbani (1/50) also chipped in with a wicket each.
Australia A started off disastrously by losing opener Matt Renshaw for a duck. The opener, who made his way into the side after recovering from hamstring injury, was cleaned up by seamer Gurbani. However Patterson and Head steadied the ship with a 92-run second wicket stand.
Patterson played aggressively hitting eight boundaries while Head played steadily and kept the scoreboard ticking, until Nadeem dismissed him.
Head’s 68 was decorated with 10 boundaries, before he was stumped by Kona Bharat off Yadav’s bowling.
Thereafter, Australia A lost three quick wickets as Indian spinners, Nadeem and Yadav, came to the party by picking up Peter Handscomb (8), Head and Marnus Labuschagne (nought), leaving the visiting side tottering at 140 for five.
Gowtham picked Ashton Agar’s (23) wicket, leaving Australia A 180 for six, but Marsh and Neser, batted patiently and built their partnership steadily.
Opener Usman Khawaja and spinner Jon Holland, who were star performers in 98-run victory over India A in their first match, were rested to give Agar, Renshaw and leggie Mitchell Swepson a chance.
Wicketkeeper Alex Carey has flown home for the birth of his first child, with Handscomb taking the gloves for this match.
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