India 'A' v Australia: Shreyas leads India 'A' reply

Shreyas Iyer smashed five sixes and seven fours to remain unconquered on 85 as India 'A' ended the day at 176/4 in 51 overs in reply to Australia's 469/7.

Shreyas Iyer attacked the Australian bowlers with a 93-ball 85. He's set to score his ninth first-class ton on the final day's play.   -  AP

Shreyas Iyer gave the Australian bowlers the first hint of what lies in store for them over the coming six weeks as the Mumbai batsman’s unbeaten knock of 85 helped India-A make a solid reply after the visitors declared their first innings at 469 for seven.

Riding on Shreyas’ (93b, 7x4, 5x6) nearly run-a-ball innings, India-A finished the second of the three-day game at 176 for four. With Rishabh Pant for company and Ishan Kishan yet to come in, the India-A batsmen can still hope to run Australians close on Sunday.

Despite Shreyas’ belligerence, the Australian bowlers — sans frontline pacers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood who have been rested — can take heart from their peformance. On a batting paradise, pacers Jackson Bird and Mitchell Marsh kept the openers in check.

No freebies

And even after being clobbered by Shreyas, spinners Nathan Lyon and Stephen O’Keefe stuck to fuller lines, depriving the batsmen of freebies.

Lyon, especially, struck the right balance of bowling full without offering too much loop. It resulted in him extracting appreciable bounce, which was instrumental in the dismissals of the India-A openers.

While left-hander Akhil Herwadkar top-edged one straight to the off-spinner, Lyon got one to rise sharply on Priyank Panchal in the last over before tea and the right-hander could only offer Peter Handscomb a dolly at forward short-leg.

Shreyas, meanwhile, was playing the spinners really well. He made his intentions clear by hitting the first ball he faced over wide long-on. He struck two more sixes off Australia’s lead spinner.

He also had little difficulty in hoisting the left-arm spinner twice over the fence against the turn, once each over mid-wicket and long-on. He also used the depth of the crease really well against both the spinners as was displayed in his delicate touches behind the wicket.

No trouble

Earlier in the morning, the Australian lower middle-order continued to bat without trouble against the India-A bowlers. Mitchell Marsh and Matthew Wade batted with caution against the pacers, especially against Navdeep Saini who continued to impress with his nippy bowling. Once the spinners came on, Wade started employing the sweep at will, while Mitchell Marsh began to open his shoulders.

The sweep shot eventually brought about Wade’s dismissal as he top-edged Herwadkar, who had to continue shouldering the responsibility of an off-spinner with K. Gowtham unable to bowl, to offer Rishabh Pant an easy catch before lunch. Pant had taken over the gloves from Ishan Kishan halfway into the opening session.

After the break, Mitchell Marsh started playing more aggressively, hitting a huge six off Shahbaz Nadeeem. Soon after he failed to get the elevation off the left-arm spinner and holed out to substitute B. Indrajith at mid-off.

Brief score:

India 176 for four in 51 overs (Shreyas Iyer 85 not out; Jackson Bird two for 15) in reply to Australia's 469 for seven (declared) in 127 overs (Steve Smith 107; Navdeep Saini two for 42)