Marsh, Head put Australia A in charge

Mitchell Marsh and Travis Head scored fifties as Australia A dominated day one and was 290/6 at stumps.

Mitchell Marsh was unbeaten on 86 at the end of opening day's play.   -  Sudhakara Jain

Australia A head coach Graeme Hick stood and applauded as opener Kurtis Patterson creamed one cover drive off Shahbaz Nadeem. That was the order of play in the first session of the final four-day unofficial Test between India A and Australia A, here on Saturday. Ones, twos and fours with a foot barely put wrong. As the visitor ended the day on 290 for six, it had already shown a lot more fight with the bat than it had in Bengaluru.

Patterson and Travis Head, at one point, used their feet so well against the Indian spinners that it appeared as if Australia's keenness to dispel spin demons was translating into action, at last. Both batsmen used the depth of the crease to good effect, and their feet moved decisively - no half measures.

Key highlights: Aus A dominate Day 1

For a change, they didn't push and prod but resorted to aggressive strokeplay, playing the cut shot with freedom. Shreyas Iyer introduced a silly point with the hope of drawing a false shot but the two left-handers were having none of it. The relative ease with which the duo picked gaps meant the close-in fielder was soon gone.

Patterson (48, 4x8) had added 92 runs with Head for the second wicket when he fell to spinner Nadeem - two short of a deserving half-century.

 

Head, meanwhile, continued his run-glut on this tour, bringing up a second fifty with a glorious shot over mid-on for four. But he shimmied down the pitch to Kuldeep Yadav, misjudged the length and was out stumped. His 128-ball 68 was studded with 10 boundaries.

Marsh blunts the spinners

The rest of the match was played like a subcontinental template. India A's spin trio - Yadav (2 for 68), Nadeem (2 for 64) and K. Gowtham (1 for 60) - tightened the screws on the opposition, reducing it to 140/5 before skipper Mitchell Marsh (86 n.o.4x13) got his fifty off 97 balls, and together with Neser (44 n.o. 4x6), put up a seventh-wicket partnership of 110 runs in 205 balls to stave off any threats late in the day.

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Marsh, however, had a reprieve on 26 when R. Samarth, standing at leg-slip, dropped a sitter off R. Gurbani's (1 for 50) bowling. Earlier, Gurbani, making his maiden appearance in the four-day series, had drawn first blood after Australia A won the toss and elected to bat. Matt Renshaw, opening the innings, got an away swinger that beat the outside edge and rattled into the stumps.

With Marsh and Neser well set and no imminent threats in the wicket, the Indian fielders could be in for a leather hunt when play resumes on Sunday.