Australia middle-order sparkles; Iyer stands tall for India A

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Mitchell Marsh and Matthew Wade scored contrasting half-centuries for Australia. © AFP

Australia continued their impressive start to their tour of India as their middle order made good use of the fine start on the opening day to amass 469 for 7 in their innings. In reply, Jackson Bird and Nathan Lyon picked up two wickets each to reduce India A to 176 for 4 – still adrift by 293 runs with one day’s play to go.

Opting to bowl, India A had to endure a hard day on their field on Friday (February 17), with Steve Smith and Shaun Marsh cracking fine tons before retiring. With the platform well set, the Australians resumed the innings at 327 for 5 as Matthew Wade and Mitchell Marsh dug in and hit contrasting half-centuries.

While Marsh was more content in spending as much time in the middle as possible, scoring 75 off 159 balls, Wade looked more positive, hitting nine fours in his 89-ball 64.

The pair added 129-runs and got themselves some valuable batting practice before they were dismissed in quick succession. Glenn Maxwell and Steve O’Keefe got a short look-in before Smith drew his team in.

India A suffered an early setback with Akhil Herwadkar falling after struggling his way to 4 off 35 balls. He was out to Nathan Lyon in the 12th over off the innings.

Shreyas Iyer then showcased the immense potential he promises as he hit an attacking unbeaten 85 off 93 balls. An apparent characteristic of his innings was attacking the spinners, with both Nathan Lyon (who bowled a total of 17 overs) and O’Keefe (14 overs) going at more than four runs an over.

Iyer slammed five sixes and seven fours during his fine knock. He received decent support from Priyank Panchal (36), Ankit Bawne (25) and Hardik Pandya (19), but the trio will be disappointed at not having converted its starts.

Jackson Bird and Mitchell Marsh impressed with miserly spells in their combined 20 overs, although only Bird (2 for 15) returned with wickets to show for his efforts.

Iyer was at the crease with Rishabh Pant for company when stumps were called. And with the pair’s penchant for attack, Australia will hope to remove them as soon as possible on the final day before India A can punch in more chinks in the visitors’ morale.

Brief scores: Australia 469/7 (Steven Smith 107, Shaun Marsh 104, Mitchell Marsh 75; Navdeep Saini 2-42) lead India A (Shreyas Iyer 85*, Jackson Bird 2-15) by 293 runs.

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