Young batsman Shreyas Iyer pounded the Australian bowlers with his career-best unbeaten 202 before the three-day warm-up game between India A and the visitors ended in a draw, in Mumbai, on Sunday.
Iyer, who resumed at overnight 85, completed his century in 10 minutes and put the Aussie attack, especially spinners Nathan Lyon and Stephen O’Keefe, to the sword.
Along with Krishnappa Gowtham, he shared a 138-run stand for the seventh wicket.
The 22-year-old Mumbai batsman, who has now made nine first class hundreds, punished the Australian bowlers with 27 hits to the fence and seven over the ropes, all off Lyon and O’Keefe, to remain unconquered after batting for 306 minutes.
He had also scored exactly 100 in a two-day warm-up game against Bangladesh in Hyderabad.
Gowtham made a whirlwind 74 in 68 balls smashing 10 fours and four sixes, to help the home team reply strongly to the visitors’ first innings total of 469 for seven declared.
India ‘A’ were all out for 403, conceding a lead of 66 runs to Australia, who scored 110 for four wickets in their second innings before the game ended with mutual consent.
O’Keefe (19 in 71 balls) and Matthew Wade (6) were the not out batsmen at the end.
The visitors must feel disappointed ahead of four-Test rubber commencing in Pune on February 23 with the twin failure of openers David Warner, who made 25 and 35, and Matt Renshaw (11 and 10) as well as the huge number of runs given away by spinners Lyon (4 for 162) and O’Keefe (3 for 101).
The morning’s play belonged to Iyer and Gowtham – who used the bat like a club and smashed Lyon for four huge sixes, to dent his confidence a bit ahead of the Test series opener.
Iyer remained unconquered and caught the eye with his assured stroke-play, both off spin as well as against pace.
He also bettered his 200 made in October 2015 in the Ranji game against Punjab at the nearby Wankhede Stadium.
Just as he had done in the morning when racing from overnight 85 to 100 with a flurry of fours off speedster Jackson Bird, Iyer galloped from 184 to 202 with the help of four fours in one over from left-arm spinner O’Keefe before the India ‘A’ innings came to an end.
He and Gowtham stole the limelight with some brilliant batting as India ‘A’ reached 347 for 6 at lunch by adding 171 runs in just 32 overs, to the chagrin of the visitors.
The home team lost two wickets before Gowtham, who was unable to bowl in the Australia innings due to a hamstring injury, hammered off spinner Lyon for four sixes on way to his half century off just 43 balls.
Iyer had not faced tall Aussie pacer Bird in reaching 85 last evening but dominated the bowler from the first ball that he took strike against today, racing to the hundred in the bowler’s second over of the day, hitting him for three fours with the pick being a straight drive.
His hundred came up in 157 minutes and 103 balls and contained five sixes and 11 fours.
While Iyer continued to bat in forthright manner without any difficulties, the other overnight not out batsman Rishabh Pant – with whom he added 55 runs for the fifth wicket – gave a tame return catch when lured out by O’Keefe in his first over of the day.
Next batsman, wicket keeper Ishan Kishan, did not last long as he edged Mitchell Marsh’s fifth ball of the morning to Wade with the score on 234.
Gowtham limped his way to the crease at the fall of Kishan but later showed no signs of the hamstring injury he had sustained while fielding as he blasted the Aussie bowlers, Lyon in particular, with clean shots.
Lyon, who took two wickets on Saturday, was deprived of his third when Maxwell dropped Gowtham (when on 14) at deep mid-wicket, a sitter. After the lucky break, the batsman smashed Lyon for four big sixes, two over long on and two more over the straight field.
Gowtham was bowled post lunch with an arm-ball by O’Keefe who dismissed Shahbaz Nadeem off the next ball before Ashok Dinda prevented the hat-trick but soon afterwards fell in Lyon’s leg trap who then sent back last man Saini in the next over to bring the innings to a close.
Holding a lead of 66, Australia advanced to 59 for two in the second innings at tea, after losing opener Renshaw and Glenn Maxwell (1), promoted in the order.
Both Renshaw and Maxwell were bowled trying to drive home team captain Hardik Pandya and Navdeep Saini respectively.
After tea, Warner departed playing an expansive drive against Dinda and was caught at gully. He batted for 75 minutes and struck six fours.
Part-time bowler Pant took a wicket later, sending back Peter Handscomb for 37.
Australians 1st Innings: 469/7d
India A 1st Innings: 403
Australians 2nd innings:
David Warner c sub (B Indrajith) b Dinda 35
Matt Renshaw b Pandya 10
Glenn Maxwell b Saini 1
Steve O'Keefe not out 19
Peter Handscomb c Gowtham b Pant 37
Matthew Wade not out 6
Extras (LB-1, NB-1) 2
Total (4 wickets; 36 overs) 110
Fall of wickets: 1-27, 2-32, 3-59, 4-101.
Bowling: Hardik Pandya 5-1-30-1, Navdeep Saini 7-2-20-1, Ashoke Dinda 7-2-18-1, S Nadeem 9-1-21-0, K Gowtham 4-0-9-0, R Pant 2-0-9-1, A Herwadkar 2-1-2-0.