India vs Cricket Australia XI: Vijay slams ton, match ends in draw

Murali Vijay struck a fine hundred on the final day of the tour game between India and Cricket Australia XI as the game ended in draw.

Murali Vijay in action during the final day of the tour game between India and Cricket Australia XI on Saturday.   -  [email protected]

Murali Vijay struck a confident hundred while KL Rahul scored a half-century on the fourth and final day of the tour game against Cricket Australia XI played at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.

Vijay, returning to the Test squad after being dropped mid-way through the England tour, celebrated his comeback with an unbeaten century off 118 balls. He looked solid and had reached his half-century off 91 balls.

Thereafter, he stepped up his game a notch and took on the Australian bowlers as he sped to his century off 118 deliveries, getting the last 50 runs in 27 balls. He hit 26 runs off Jake Carder in one over to race to his hundred.

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Earlier, Rahul scored a gritty 62 as the duo put on 109 runs for the opening wicket as India finished at 211-2 in its second innings at stumps on day four.

Rahul batted with greater confidence than in recent times and struck eight fours and a six. He looked shaky at times with circumspect timing, as seen in his dismissal off a full toss caught at mid-wicket.

 

Hanuma Vihari came out at number three and finished unbeaten on 15 at stumps.

This was after Cricket Australia XI finished at 544 runs in its first innings and kept India in the field for as long as possible.

Mohammed Shami (3-97) did not bowl on the final day, while R. Ashwin (2-122) and Ishant Sharma (1-73) sent down a majority of overs in the morning session. India tested its other bowling options again as Vihari (0-34), Virat Kohli (1-27) and Vijay (0-17) sent down 13 overs between them.

Harry Nielsen was the pick of the Australian batsmen as he held fort and scored a hundred off 170 balls, including nine fours. He was dismissed on 100 when he was caught at mid-off after off a Kohli delivery.

 

The host's lower order did remarkably well with Daniel Fallins (43), Luke Robins (38 not out) and Jackson Coleman (36) keeping the visitor chasing leather in the sun. The latter duo added 57 runs for the final wicket.

So much so that India brought on Jasprit Bumrah (1-0) and Kuldeep Yadav (0-3), not initially included in the 14-man list at the start of the game, to bowl after lunch.

Bumrah looked in good rhythm as he bowled Coleman with a well-aimed yorker off his seventh delivery.

The Indian batting unit looked solid overall and came together well, while the bowling department has room to imrpove. Virat Kohli and co. will have plenty to ponder ahead of the first Test in Adelaide in five days time.