Quick Links



    India chase leather on first day of warm-up

    Canberra: The Indian bowling failed to make much of an impression as Cricket Australia Chairman's XI dominated the opening day of their two-day practice match, making 398-6 declared at the Manuka Oval on Thursday.

    Regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni opted against playing the match and Rahul Dravid took over the captaincy in his absence.

    Electing to field after winning the toss, the Indians started off strongly but the CAC XI wriggled out of the tight situation through contrasting centuries by opener Wes Robinson (143) and Tom Cooper (182 not out) to blunt the visiting attack on a docile pitch.

    Even though the Indians struck back in the final hour, the CAC XI had all but exposed the weaknesses of an Indian attack when it takes the field without the experience of Zaheer Khan.

    Young pacer Umesh Yadav was the first to strike when he had CAC XI skipper Ryan Broad (8) caught behind by Wriddhimaan Saha in the 10th over.

    Umesh, in fact, managed to create an impression by scalping three wickets in a miserly 15 overs, conceding just 39 runs.

    Next man in Joe Burns (21) didn't last long either as Pragyan Ojha, who bowled 25 of the day's 86 overs, rattled his stumps.

    CAC XI looked in trouble at lunch with the scoreboard reading 53-2, but Robinson and Cooper started a slow recovery, building a 226-run prtnership for the third wicket.

    The two batsmen frustrated the Indian attack, which was hampered further when pacer Ishant Sharma walked off the field after completing just 5.3 overs after appearing to struggle with an ankle problem. It was not clear just why Ishant was taken off the field.

    Abhimanyu Mithun could not grab a single wicket although he was economical, giving away 40 runs in his 12 overs. R Vinay Kumar, who was drafted into the squad after Varun Aaron was ousted due to injury, was a major disappointment, going for 89 runs in his 17 overs although he managed to get a wicket.

    This is India's opening match of their Australian tour ahead of the first of four Tests against Australia, starting at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day.

    With the Indian bowlers going wicket-less in the second session, Robinson and Cooper steered CAC XI to 186/2 at tea and both the batsmen were close to their respective hundreds at that time.

    Post-tea, it didn't take long for them to reach the milestones and strengthen CAC XI's position with their contrasting innings.

    While Robinson played a patient knock that came off 215 deliveries, Cooper was more attacking and scored at almost run-a-ball during his 192-ball knock. While Robinson's innings included 13 fours and half a dozen sixes - including five off Test-hopeful Ojha, Cooper sent down a whopping 24 boundaries and three maximum hits.

    Robinson's marathon knock was finally ended by Ojha, who was otherwise taken to the cleaners during his 25.3 overs that yielded 149 runs for the opposition batsmen. The left-hander holed out to Sachin Tendulkar on the leg-side while attempting to slam Ojha for a boundary.

    But the dismissal had little impact on Cooper, who aggressively built a 92-run fourth-wicket stand with Alex Doolan. The duo scored at more than six an over during the stand that came off 13 overs before Doolan was trapped leg-before by Umesh Yadav. His 35-ball cameo included three fours.

    After Doolan's dismissal, CAC XI lost a couple of quick wickets and from being 363/4, the team was 398/6 before deciding to declare their innings.

    Meanwhile, Ishant Sharma left the field briefly after bowling the first over before returning to bowl another four overs. After leaving the field again to have his left ankle restrapped, he didn't return to action.

    Indian team officials told local media that Sharma had only intended to bowl six overs, anyway, and weren't concerned about his fitness.

    Sharma injured the ankle in the recent Test series in England and didn't play in the subsequent limited-overs series at home.

    The Indians will play another practice match from December 19 to 21 at the same venue, before heading to Melbourne for the opening Test starting December 26.