Fast bowler Mohammed Siraj’s telling eight-wicket haul for India A upstaged Usman Khawaja’s superb century for Australia A.
India A seized command on day one of the first unofficial Test against Australia A at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday, as Siraj completed outstanding figures of eight for 59 in 19.3 tight overs. The haul was the most prolific of his career, outstretching a previous-best five for 52 by a veritable country mile.
The star performance included the key dismissals of Khawaja and fellow Test cricketers Peter Handscomb and Mitchell Marsh, who suffered a duck each. Wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav, recently dropped from the Test squad, clinched the remaining wickets.
Khawaja delivered a patient 127 from 228 deliveries, and was well supported by the Klerksdorp-born Marnus Labuschagne’s complementary 60. The pair relished a steely 114-run partnership to offer the only notable resistance as seven of the visiting batsmen did not reach double figures in a disappointing total of 243 all out.
Right-armer Siraj’s burgeoning talent was on display during three T20Is last year and earlier this year. Sunday’s showing will effectively push his case for Test selection ahead of the country’s several other seam-bowling contenders.
India’s reply was swift and commanding, moving to a dominant 41 without loss. Opener Mayank Agarwal (31 not out) played the aggressor and fellow opener Ravikumar Samarth (10 not out) the anchor, as the first-innings deficit was reduced to a manageable 202.
A host attack, serviced by another South African-born cricketer in Pretoria’s Michael Neser, will pursue early breakthroughs on Monday.
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