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Australian batsmen falter against unfancied Dhruv, Saxena

February 18, 2013 17:33 IST

Australian batsmen's woes against spinners were exposed once again as India A's unfancied duo of left-arm spinner Rakesh Dhruv and off-spinner Jalaj Saxena excelled with an impressive display, forcing the visitors to follow on before the warm-up match ended in a draw in Chennai.

Gujarat's Dhruv grabbed five for 51 while Madhya Pradesh all-rounder Saxena took four for 61 to dismiss Australia for 235 in their first innings in reply to India A's total of 451.

With 216-run deficit, India A skipper Gautam Gambhir enforced follow-on and Australian did a shade better in their second essay by finishing on 195 for three at the Guru Nanak College ground.

In all, it was a moral victory for the India A side as they exposed the chinks in the Aussie armoury. Against Board President's XI in their first warm-up game, the Aussies were bowled out for 241. In two successive matches, their batsmen failed to post a total in excess of 250.

If Perveez Rasool sowed the seeds of doubts in the Aussie minds about their inability to tackle spinners, Dhruv and Saxena's performance will certainly compound their worries and at the same time encourage Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha to go all out against Michael Clarke's men in the first Test.

The Aussies started the day at 131 for four and the overnight batsmen Matthew Wade (44) and Moises Henriques (33) took the score to 176 with a 49-run fifth wicket stand.

Both were trying to hit their way out of trouble -- especially Henriques, who hit two fours and three sixes in his 41-ball knock before he padded an arm ball from the left-arm spinner Dhruve which started the slide.

For 31-year-old Dhruv, who is a veteran of 75 first-class matches and is not a contender for the national side, this performance will certainly be the most memorable one of his career.

Peter Siddle was run-out after he failed to cover his ground at the non-striker's end with Dhruv backing up beautifully to gather Manpreet Gony's throw and dislodge the bails.

While Wade was showing necessary composure during his 103-ball stay hitting four boundaries and two sixes, none of the other batsmen showed enough patience to stay at the crease and grind it out.

Mitchell Starc (11) and Nathan Lyon (0) then went for wild slogs off Saxena and were dismissed cheaply. While Starc was holed out in the deep by Ranganath Vinay Kumar, Lyon was clean bowled.

At 199 for eight, Xavier Doherty (7) provided a very brief resistance alongside Wade before the left-hander nicked one from Dhruv behind the stumps to glovesman CM Gautam.

With both Saxena and Dhruv on four wickets apiece, it was then a race among the duo as to who would get that elusive five-wicket haul.

The chubby-faced tall left-armer became lucky when a desperate Wade tried to hit him out only to be caught by Gony in the deep as Australia lost their last six wickets in only 26.3 overs.

Being asked to follow-on in a three-day match is nothing sort of humiliation but Australians did get some batting practice with Shane Watson helping himself to a second half-century in the match smashing 60 off only 63 balls with nine fours and a six.

Along with opening partner Ed Cowan who scored 53 off 81 balls with nine fours and a six, he added 104 runs for the opening stand.

The match was called off after 55 overs with Usman Khawaja batting on 30 in company of Wade who had scored 19.

The Australian side would not be very satisfied with their show in the two warm-up games as their batsmen have been found wanting against the unknown spinners.

Even their own spinners haven't been able to provide much inroads with the likes of Gautam Gambhir, Manoj Tiwary, Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu negotiating Lyon and Doherty with ease.


India 1st innings: 451
Australians 1st innings
Shane Watson c Gautam b Dhruv 84
Ed Cowan lbw b Dhruv 40
Phillip Hughes st Gautam b Saxena 1
Usman Khawaja b Saxena 1
Matthew Wade c Gony b Dhruv 44
Moises Henriques lbw b Dhruv 33
Peter Siddle run out 2
Mitchell Starc c Vinay b Saxena 11
Nathan Lyon b Saxena 0
Xavier Doherty c Gautam b Dhruv 7
Ashton Agar not out 4
Extras:(b-4, lb-2, nb-2) 8
Total:(all out in 62.3 overs) 235

Fall of wickets: 1-116, 2-117, 3-127, 4-127, 5-176, 6-182, 7-199, 8-199, 9-214

Bowling: R Vinay Kumar 9-3-16-0, Dhawal Kulkarni 10-2-37-0, Manpreet Gony 4-0-37-0, Abhishek Nayar 6-0-27-0, Rakesh Dhruv 14.3-2-51-5, Jalaj Saxena 19-6-61-4.

Australians 2nd innings (following on)
Shane Watson run out 60
Ed Cowan c Vinay b Saxena 53
Phillip Hughes b Dhruv 19
Usman Khawaja not out 30
Matthew Wade not out 19
Extras: (b-8, lb-5, nb-1) 14
Total: (for 3 wkts in 55 overs) 195

Fall of wickets: 1-104, 2-118, 3-162

Bowling: Manpreet Gony 7-0-30-0, Rakesh Dhruv 18-3-57-1, Jalaj Saxena 16-4-37-1, Rohit Sharma 4-0-22-0, Manoj Tiwary 10-0-36-0.

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