There were promising signs from Australia A captain Mitch Marsh, Chris Tremain and Ashton Agar on an otherwise tough Monday in the field on day three of the second four-day clash against India A in Bengaluru.
Australia A’s attack was made to toil as a fighting century from Srikar Bharat helped the hosts to 505, a lead of 159 runs, before openers Kurtis Patterson (4) and Matt Renshaw (19) fell before stumps – the former bowled leaving, the latter caught sweeping.
But Travis Head will have a chance to add to the impressive 68 he posted in the first innings when he resumes on four alongside Peter Handscomb (1) for Tuesday’s final day, Australia trailing the hosts by 121 runs.
India A had resumed on 3-223 on Monday, still 123 runs behind Australia A’s first-innings total of 346. But while Marsh, Tremain, Agar and Brendan Doggett chipped in with wickets, the third day of the four-day encounter turned into a long slog for the tourists in the field.
Marsh continued his return to the bowling crease early on Monday, bowling Shreyas Iyer to collect Australia A’s fourth wicket and no doubt pleasing national selectors, who will be keen to see the allrounder has sufficiently recovered from ankle surgery to perform a role as a third or even second seamer in the upcoming Test tour of the UAE.
Tremain collected his first wicket of the innings when he bowled Shubman Gill, before Doggett collected a return catch to remove Krishnappa Gowtham, and Agar’s economical efforts were rewarded when he trapped Deepak Chahar lbw.
But from there India A frustrated Australia as Bharat (106) and Kuldeep Yadav (52) put together a 113-run eighth-wicket stand, only broken by Tremain when the hosts had established a significant lead over their rivals. They were eventually bowled out for 505, a lead of 159.
Tremain finished with 3-41 from his 17 overs and Agar (3-87) was the other multiple wicket taker, while Marsh bowled 13 overs to finish with 1-50.
Batsman Usman Khawaja and spinner Jon Holland, Australia A's two standout performers from their 98-run victory over India A in their first game, were both rested for this match. Khawaja and left-arm quick Joel Paris both flew home on Saturday. Peter Handscomb is taking the gloves in this match after wicketkeeper Alex Carey also departed the tour early for the birth of his first child.
Australia A Tour of India
Australia A four-day squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Michael Neser, Joel Paris, Kurtis Patterson, Matthew Renshaw, Mitch Swepson, Chris Tremain
Four-day fixtures in Vizag
2-5 September v India A
8-11 September v India A