A below-average showing from India A’s middle order on Day 2 of the first unofficial Test against Australia A saw them dismissed for just 274, a mere 31-lead that the visitors had already gotten past at the end of day’s play at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Monday.
India A had ended Day one on 41/0 after managing to restrict their opponents to just 243 despite Usman Khawaja scoring a century. However, they could only add 233 to their overnight score before being dismissed.
At lunch, India had already lost half their side for 145, with Krishnappa Gowtham and Ankit Bawane at the crease. However, Gowtham’s dismissal after the break courtesy of Jon Holland opened the floodgates, with India struggling against the Aussie bowlers thereafter.
Bawane’s showing was the silver lining for the hosts, as his gritty knock of unbeaten 91 came despite him losing partners at a regular basis. He was cruelly denied a century when Ankit Rajpoot’s run-out brought the innings to a close. Interestingly, this was the second such dismissal in the innings for India A, with Abhimanyu Easwaran also getting run out earlier.
Michael Neser starred for Australia with figures of 4-61. He snared the key wickets of Mayank Agarwal and Shreyas Iyer before removing tailenders Navdeep Saini and Kuldeep Yadav. He was ably supported by Holland, who got the wickets of Ravikumar Samarth and KS Bharat before dismissing Gowtham.
India could have built a much bigger lead over the visitors and put themselves in an even better position to win the Test, but they lost wickets at regular intervals. The middle order in particular failed to build any decent partnership over the course of their innings.
In reply, Australia A ended the day at 42/1 – 11 runs ahead of India – having lost opener Kurtis Patterson, who became Siraj’s ninth victim of the unofficial Test match.
Most crucially for Australia, Khawaja – who scored 127 in the first innings – remained unbeaten with Travis Head as the day came to a close.
On Day 1, Mohammed Siraj's eight-wicket haul had overshadowed Khawaja century as India A had put themselves in a strong position in the first four-day match against Australia A on Sunday. The hosts will hope for another good showing from their bowlers on Day 3.
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