Cricket Buzz: India 'A' bowlers struggle in draw vs Australia 'A'
India 'A' bowlers were at the receiving end of some commanding batting from Australia 'A' on a rain-hit fourth day as the second and final unofficial Test match ended in a draw at the Allan Border Field, in Brisbane, on Wednesday.
Australia openers Phillip Hughes (100) and Alex Doolan (91) took the hosts to 202 for no loss after only 50 overs were possible due to rains.
Hughes registered his 26th first-class century with the help of 16 fours and a six, while Doolan managed his 21st first-class fifty, laced with 13 fours and a six.
Pace spearhead Umesh Yadav, who bagged a five-wicket haul in the first innings and scored a 90 coming in at No.10, looked out of sorts and conceded 75 runs in his 13 overs.
Medium-pacer Jasprit Bumrah, off-spinner Baba Aparajith and right-arm medium Anureet Singh also went wicketless on a day when the Indian bowlers struggled for line and length.
Manoj Tiwary-led India 'A', though, had its moments during the four-day encounter with the team posting 501 in response to Australia's first innings score of 423.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Naman Ojha struck his third century in as many innings to provide the necessary philip to the batting order. Ojha had scored a double century and a ton in the first and second innings, respectively in the first unofficial Test, which also ended in a draw.
For the James Faulkner-led side, Ben Cutting also made an impact by scoring 96 runs while batting down the order, besides picking up four wickets when he made the new ball to do the talking.
Medium-pacer Chadd Sayers, who shared the new ball with Cutting, also bowled well to bag his sixth five-wicket haul in first-class matches.
India 'A' will head to Darwin for a 50-over quadrangular series, featuring hosts Australia 'A', South Africa 'A' and the National Performance Squad (NPS) featuring Australia's best up-and-coming players.
Australia 'A': 423 and 202 for no loss in 50.2 overs (Phillip Hughes 100 not out, Alex Doolan 91 not out).
India 'A' 1st innings: 501 all out in 132.2 overs (N Ojha 110, U Yadav 90, M Tiwary 63, C Sayers 5-84, B Cutting 4-100).
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Image: Phillip Hughes of Australia 'A'
Photographs: Matt Roberts/Getty Images
'Obviously we are looking for a win quite badly'
England might have been rattled by their recent batting collapses but Gary Ballance believes his team will learn from the previous game and look to "put wrongs right" in the second Test against India, starting at Lord's, on Thursday.
Ballance said England must address their fragility, saying that it was Joe Root and James Anderson's world-record last-wicket stand that saved them in the first Test in Nottingham.
"Rooty and Jimmy (Joe Root and James Anderson) dug us out of that hole. I hope we can learn from that and put those wrongs right in this game," he said.
"Yes, we had one (collapse) at Headingley (against Sri Lanka) and then one again at Trent Bridge," he said.
England are on a nine match winless streak and during that period have suffered some a couple of batting collapses in their last two matches including six wickets for 68 at Trent Bridge against India and five wickets for 18 runs against Sri Lanka in Leeds.
"We know we've got to put that right. We're not going to hide away from that. We had that bad session at Trent Bridge. But the way those two (Root and Anderson) fought was unbelievable," he told Sky Sports.
England led by Alastair Cook has come to a critical point. The captain with only 97 runs in seven attempts this year and no century in his last 25 innings, while his team has badly misplaced the winning habit.
"Obviously we are looking for a win quite badly ... we can take confidence from that fifth morning (at Trent Bridge) and try to build on it here. Giving ourselves a chance on a flat wicket, the lads came out of it feeling very confident," Ballance said.
"Let's just hope that over the next few games we can put in a good team batting performance, which will get us a big score and really put pressure on India," he said.
Ballance, who scored 71 in England's 496 at Trent Bridge, has so far contributed two half-centuries and his first hundred in only four Tests, is looking to capitalise on his good form.
"It would be nice to kick on and get a really big score, a match-winning one to try to get us a win for England and get us going for the summer," he said.
He is also confident that Cook would soon be back to his prolific best, saying: "Every cricketer has been through a bad patch. You can't hide away; you've got to be positive. I thought he captained brilliantly in that (last) game, and nearly got a win.
"Some (dips in form) take longer than others....there are plenty of coaches and other players who will support you.
"Cooky is very positive and upbeat, and you saw how he is enjoying his cricket when he had a bowl at Trent Bridge. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before he gets that score," he said.
Image: Gary Ballance (left) with Sam Robson
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images