Pacemen to the rescue


Sydney, December 11

Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah was the unlikely batting star on Day 1 of the practice match against Australia A, before he returned to pick up two wickets as the Indians grabbed an 86-run lead at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Having been bowled out for 194, the Indians were put in the driver’s seat by their pace bowlers, who took nine home wickets to bowl them out for 108 in 32.2 overs.

With his unbeaten 55 off 57 balls, Bumrah was the top-scorer for the visitors, who folded for a disappointing 194 in 48.3 overs.

The Indians, however, came back strongly with the ball to bundle out Australia A for 108 as 20 wickets fell on Day 1, despite almost an hour being lost due to heavy rain. India’s four-pronged pace attack did well to intimidate the Australian youngsters with short-pitched bowling as Mohammed Shami and Navdeep Saini got three wickets apiece.

After the recognised batsmen struggled to put runs on the board, Bumrah, whose Test batting average is 2.9, produced a stellar performance with the willow, smashing the ball six times to the fence and twice over it. The 27-year-old reached his half-century in style, hooking a bouncer from all-rounder Will Sutherland for a huge six over the deep square-leg fence. Bumrah and fellow pacer Mohammed Siraj stitched a valuable 71-run partnership for the tenth wicket to give a semblance of respect to the Indian score. Pleasantly surprised with his batting heroics, Bumrah’s teammates were on their feet, clapping happily, and gave him a guard of honour when he walked back into the dressing room.

Gill, Shaw shine

Earlier, after skipper Ajinkya Rahane opted to bat, Prithvi Shaw (40) and Shubman Gill (43) — both 21-year-old batsmen with bright futures — showed glimpses of why they are rated so highly. However, the two would be distraught after getting a good start and failing to make it count, though both looked impressive with their dazzling strokes and positive approach. — PTI

Brief scores: Indians 1st innings 194 all out in 48.3 overs (Bumrah 55*, Gill 43, Shaw 40; Abbott 3/46, Wildermuth 3/13); Australia A 1st innings 108 all out in 32.2 overs (Carey 32, Harris 26; Shami 3/29, Saini 3/19, Bumrah 2/33).


Green suffers concussion

Test hopeful Cameron Green suffered concussion after being struck on the head while bowling after Jasprit Bumrah straight-drove the ball back towards him. The 21-year-old all-rounder was struck on the right side of the head after Bumrah smashed the ball straight, with the ball slipping through Green’s fingers and striking him. Green was attended to by the medical team before he walked off the field. He was later withdrawn from the match, with batsman Patrick Rowe named as the concussion replacement. Green is the second Australia Test squad member to suffer a head knock during a warm-up match against India. Opener Will Pucovski retired hurt in Australia A’s tour match on Tuesday after being hit on the helmet by a bouncer. Agencies

India must land first punch, says Kumble

New Delhi: If India don’t strike first by clinching the opening Day/Night Test against Australia, the going will get very tough for them in the absence of talismanic skipper Virat Kohli, said former India captain and coach Anil Kumble. “If we can stay ahead in the first Test match then India has a great chance to repeat what they did in the last Australia tour,” the spin legend said. “Although with (Steven) Smith and (David) Warner coming back, and then Virat (Kohli) missing the three Test matches, will obviously be a big factor for India.” Kumble feels India’s fast bowling is at par with Australia’s and the visitors are ahead of the hosts in batting. Former India skipper Rahul Dravid said India will have to find someone who can amass 500-odd runs in the series, like Cheteshwar Pujara did the last time around. pti



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