A 174-run opening stand between Ravikumar Samarth and Abhimanyu Easwaran put India A in a solid position on Day 2 of the second four-day game against Australia A at the KSCA Cricket Ground in Alur on Sunday.
Resuming the day on 290 for 6, Australia added 56 runs to their overnight total with Mitchell Marsh (113*) bringing up his eighth first-class century. Kuldeep Yadav picked up three of the remaining four wickets, returning 5 for 91, as the visiting side were bowled out for 346 in 109 overs.
In reply, Samarth (83) and Easwaran (86) missed their centuries by few runs but gave India a brilliant start. At the end of the days play, India were 223 for 3 in 70 overs, still trailing by 123 runs, with Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill unbeaten on 30 and 8 respectively.
Samarth and Easwaran looked busy from the word go and kept the scoreboard moving. There were occasional boundaries as India crossed the 100-run mark by the end of second session. The two came out with a much more positive intent in the final session, scoring a tad over five runs per over.
The massive partnership was finally broken in the 48th over when Ashton Agar got rid of Samarth to give Australia a much-needed opening. Before Shreyas Iyer, the No. 3 batsman, could get his eye in, Marnus Labuschagne effected a direct hit from the cover region to catch Easwaran just short of his crease. The 23-year-old Bengal batsman smacked 10 fours during his stay in the middle.
Ankit Bawne (13) survived for a while before falling to legspinner Mitchell Swepson. Coming in at No. 5, Gill, along with Iyer, played out the last couple of overs before the stumps were drawn.
Earlier, Michael Neser couldn't add anything to his overnight score of 44 as he was undone by left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem (3 for 90). Chris Tremain (16), Mitchell Swepson (4) and Brendan Doggett (8) stuck for a while and allowed their captain Marsh to reach the three-figure mark. All three of them fell to Kuldeep, allowing the left-arm wrist spinner complete his fourth first-class five-wicket haul.
Marsh, who missed out in both innings of Australia's first match in Bengaluru with scores of nought and nine, hit 16 fours and a six during his unbeaten 204-ball knock. Making his return from an ankle injury, this will serve as a huge confidence booster for Marsh, and Australian team management ahead of the United Arab Emirates tour.
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