India A v Australia A - Four-Day
Tremain praises efforts of steady Head
South Australian skipper may have fallen short of a century, but he did his chances of securing a Test spot no harm on day three in Bengaluru
5 September 2018, 11:07 AM AEST
Australia A paceman Chris Tremain has heaped praise on Travis Head after the left-hander staked his claim for a spot in the Test side and helped the tourists set a tricky fourth-innings target.
Head’s second-innings knock of 87 on Tuesday featured 13 boundaries as Australia A set India A 262 for victory in their four-day fixture in Bengaluru.
The South Australia captain shared a crucial 81-run partnership with Usman Khawaja (40) and a 50-run stand with Marnus Labuschagne (37) to help Australia A post 292.
With David Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft suspended, Head is one of several batsmen eyeing a spot in the Test squad for next month’s series against Pakistan in the UAE.
He averages 35.94 from 68 matches at first-class level with seven centuries.
Last summer, Head hammered 738 runs in eight matches at 46.12 and was the sixth highest run-scorer in the JLT Sheffield Shield.
“I’ve played so much cricket against Trav and I don’t think I’ve ever got him out,” Tremain said.
“He smacks the ball all over any Australian ground I’ve ever seen him play at and he’s shown now he can do it in India against a spin attack on a spinning wicket in pretty trying conditions with the seamers as well.
“It was an exceptional knock and unfortunately he didn’t get to three figures but did exactly what the team needed from him.
“Leading into this tournament, we’ve asked every player on this tour to do that and I think he epitomised what we aimed to do.”
Handy lower-order contributions from Michael Neser (25), Tremain (25) and Brendan Doggett (17 not out) ensured Australia A pushed their lead above 250, setting the stage for a fascinating final day.
Fast bowler Mohammed Siraj took 3-77, while spinners Kuldeep Yadav (2-51) and Krishnappa Gowtham (2-53) also impressed for India A.
India will resume at 2-63 after Tremain (1-16) and Jon Holland (1-34) struck late blows with the wickets of Abhimanyu Easwaran (0) and captain Shreyas Iyer (28).
“It’s always nice to start well and I think myself and Brendan Doggett did that by not leaking any bad balls,” Tremain said.
“Shreyas came out and played his natural game, which was I guess aggressive. He took the game on, which probably wasn’t a bad ploy on this week, and it didn’t pay off for him today. It may on another day.
“It’s great to see the back of him, especially how dangerous he can be and even how dangerous he showed us he was.”
Tremain said Australia A faced a battle to claim the eight wickets needed for victory on day four.
While satisfied with the tourists’ lead, the Victorian said they missed a chance to build a bigger advantage.
“We needed that to get us going into the day,” he said of the stand between Head an Khawaja.
“We had a couple of little partnerships that chipped in around that.
“What I think we need, moving forward, is one pretty big one and then another pretty good contribution from two batsmen and we looked threatening like we might do that and didn’t quite capitalise.
“I think those little partnerships got us to where we needed to be (but) a bigger one could have got us in a really good position.”
Tremain said the final day would be a “grind” but added there was encouragement for the bowlers.
“We saw today that a couple of balls shot through,” he said.
“We’d like to see that happen a bit more frequently and you might find if it really hot tomorrow those cracks might open up, the (pitch) might get a bit more uneven and we may get balls that really do roll rather than float and tennis ball.
“We’re sort of hoping for a nice hot one, so we can get those demons out of the wicket.
“I’d love to be a part of a successful team in the subcontinent and I think we’re putting the right foot forward to do that.”
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