Mighty Australia tames BP XI in warm-up tie

The visiting team warmed up for the five-match ODI series in style by thumping BCCI Board President's XI by 103 runs at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday.

Australian's Kane Richardson (left) and Travis Head celebrate the wicket of BCCI Board President's XI Rahul Tripathi.   -  AFP

 

They don't call it a warm-up for nothing. On a day when the weather oscillated between bright, blue skies and dark, monsoon clouds; Australia — playing its first limited-overs fixture after the Champions Trophy — ensured its fortunes didn't fluctuate with a commanding 103-run win over Board President's (BP) XI at Chennai's M.A. Chidambaram stadium on Tuesday.

In front of a boisterous local crowd, the Steve Smith-led side hammered BP XI as its bowlers and batsmen got the workout they needed in the lead up to Sunday's encounter against India.

READ: Stoinis left baffled by ambidextrous Akshay Karnewar

Chasing a gargantuan 348 to win, the BP XI suffered an early blow when right-arm seamer Kane Richardson got rid of opener Rahul Tripathy; the Maharashtra batsman nicking one to 'keeper Matthew Wade.

The diminutive Shreevats Goswami (43) and Karnataka batsman Mayank Agarwal (42) then calmed the nerves, stitching together a vital 79-run partnership before the latter fell to leg-spinner Adam Zampa; David Warner pouching an easy chance at long on.

READ: As the day progressed: Board President's XI v Australia

Goswami followed suit, this time, Marcus Stoinis bowling him through the gate as he attempted an almighty heave.

Akshay Karnewar (40), whose cameo, briefly raised hopes of a comeback, saw his stint cut short when Glenn Maxwell took a simple catch off James Faulkner.

READ: Laxman: Ashwin, Jadeja told that wrist spinners being tried

Australia though had a mixed day in the field, with both Maxwell and Steve Smith grassing easy chances and a few balls sneaking between the fielder's legs. However, Faulkner's stunner to get rid of Gurkeerat (27) restored a modicum of parity for the visiting side.

Ashton Agar, who has played two ODIs for Australia, gave a strong account of himself returning figures of 8.2-1-44-4. Stoinis, Zampa took one wicket apiece while Richardson scalped two wickets.

BP XI wilts as Australia batsmen breathe fire

Earlier, Smith and Warner inflicted telling blows on the Board President's (BP) XI bowlers; the duo taking full advantage of the wicket's even pace and a scorching fast outfield. Both the batsmen batted with freedom, raising a century stand inside the first 15 overs.

Warner's quickfire 64 off 48 deliveries sewed up the damage done by the early dismissal of Hilton Cartwright; who was caught in the slips off Avesh Khan. The New South Wales' southpaw cut, pulled and drove his way to a half-century before edging one to Goswami behind the stumps.

READ: Saha: Beating India at home will be tough

That put a lid on Australia's scoring rate, with only 28 runs being added to the scoreboard before Smith, having scored 55 off 68 deliveries, became Washington Sundar's first victim of the match courtesy a fine catch by Gurkeerat Mann at square leg.

Sundar also scalped flamboyant middle-order batsman Maxwell, this time completing an easy catch off his own bowling reducing Australia to four for 158.

Sundar's two for 23 thwarted Australia's surge briefly before all-rounder Stoinis and Travis Head counterattacked with an 88-run stand. However, the teenage sensation didn't complete his quota of 10 overs.

READ: Stoinis admits familiarity with Indian conditions helped his game

Head scored a brisk half-century, but eventually fell to ambidextrous spinner Akshay Karnewar. Stoinis though took a liking to Karnewar — who went for almost 10 runs an over — and blasted three sixes off his bowling,  en route to an aggressive 76 off 60 balls.

With this knock, the 28-year-old has now boosted his chances ahead of Sunday's first ODI.

At the other end, wicketkeeper batsman Matthew Wade struck form as he took Avesh Khan to the cleaners, blasting 19 runs off the 47over to help Australia notch up its triple hundred. The left-hand batsman thrashed 45 in double quick time but was out bowled trying to up the ante.

Australia plundered 101 runs in the last ten overs to set BP XI a steep target.