IND A vs AUS A: Samarth, Easwaran put host ahead

The Indian openers stitch a partnership of 174 runs to help India A end Day Two with its nose in front.

Abhimanyu Easwaran guides a delivery to leg en route to his 86 on Sunday.   -  Sudhakara Jain

Australia A picked up three wickets late in the day to restore some parity on a largely one-sided Day Two of the second unofficial Test at the KSCA Cricket Ground here on Sunday. Openers R. Samarth and Abhimanyu Easwaran were the architects of India A’s spirited reply to its opponents’ first-innings score of 346; at stumps, the home side, at 223 for 6, was well-positioned to take the lead.

Australia A’s plan, at the start, was aggressive and positive — captain Mitchell Marsh deployed a slip, leg-gully and short-leg in catching positions. By persisting with the short length, its fast bowlers — especially Chris Tremain (0 for 10) and Brendan Doggett (0 for 43) — were relying on a lapse in concentration from the batsmen for a wicket.

Samarth (83, 126b, 4x8) and Easwaran (86, 165b, 4x10) looked less settled when peppered with bouncers. Samarth misjudged the length a few times in one Doggett over and nearly holed out to the man at short-leg.

Waiting for the loose ball

But when the ball was pitched up and outside off , Samarth had no trouble rocking forward and driving the ball. Easwaran, too, cashed in on anything that was wide and short — a cracking square cut off Doggett early in the innings being the highlight.

Day One report: Mitchell Marsh, Travis Head put Australia A ahead

Both batsmen got to their individual fifties, bringing up their century stand off 178 deliveries. The Australian spinners — Ashton Agar (1 for 41) and Mitchell Swepson (1 for 61) — bowled closer to the stumps and made the batsmen play, but luck evaded them until Samarth was finally adjudged lbw off Agar’s bowling after tea.

Shifting gears

Easwaran had shifted gears in the last session; an exquisite sweep shot off Travis Head was followed by a handsome looking drive down the ground. However, the Bengal batsman did ride his luck a few times, en route to 86 — twice edging the ball through the vacant slip region off Doggett’s bowling — before a misunderstanding with Shreyas Iyer led to his run-out at the non-striker's end, Marnus Labuschange effecting a direct hit from the cover region.

Ankeet Bawane was then caught in the slips off Mitchell Swepson before Iyer and Shubman Gill saw India to stumps.

Earlier, Australia added 56 runs to its overnight 290 for 6, thanks to Marsh (113, 204b, 1x6, 4x16) who brought up his 100 off 192 balls. Marsh was solid in defence and drove with aplomb, using his reach to smother the turn. For India A, Kuldeep Yadav picked up three of the four wickets to fall in the morning, finishing with 5 for 91.

                                     Samarth: 'Plan was to see off the new ball'

"In both matches (India A vs Australia A), the wicket hasn't been easy to play when the bowlers have bowled short. It's pretty two-paced, some are climbing up while others are keeping low.

The plan was to see off the new ball, reduce its shine. We (Samarth and Easwaran) wanted to bat for as long as possible, so it was nice to get a 100-run partnership (sic). That said, scoring runs wasn't easy, especially after the ball got a little soft. They (Australians) bowled really well, too."