India A solid in reply to Mitchell Marsh

India A 223 for 3 (Easwaran 86, Samarth 83, Iyer 30 *) trail Australia A 346 (Marsh 113 *, Chief 68, Kuldeep 5-91, Nadeem 3-90) by 123 runs

R Samarth holds the leg side during his century PTI

Firing Australia At the beginning of the first session until Kuldeep Yadav has five, after conceding the momentum to a player of low order of association on Saturday, India A returned roaring to the game. On stumps on the second day, they were in a strong position at 223 for 3. Starters R Samarth and Abhimanyu Easwaran led that effort, getting 174.

Samarth and Easwaran had small passages of trouble. They batted solidly until lunch, but the most difficult task was posed immediately after his return, with fast bowler Brendan Doggett immediately adopting a short-ball strategy. The most eventful end of the intermediate session occurred, with Samarth almost defending the first ball in the short leg, and then running the next well with control. Doggett stood his ground, beating him briefly and tempting Samarth to play the bait. The batter also did it, but under twice in a row, almost being knocked down the second time. The next ball was gloved over the slide of the leg while he played again, but when he got on top of the next one and hit it through the top, the challenge was over.

Easwaran was expert against the short ball, choosing the cautious approach compared to the Samarth method. When they had successfully played that spell, Australia was ready for a long day. The spinners got little help from the wicket, despite the extreme exposure to the sun on the hottest day of the game. This was largely because they constantly deviated completely. Samarth and Easwaran, who have shown an affinity to drive on the opposite side, continued to take advantage of the scoring opportunities.

They also did not let the singles go, having many opportunities in the field, and only once in a confusion. With fast bowlers getting nothing from the surface and spinners unable to gain control, the starters batted through the middle session to take India to 124 for 0. At that point, Australia had used seven bowling pitchers in 37 overs. Marsh himself was one of them – having abstained from bowling in the first Test – but his return with the ball was not effective.

While Samarth had been the aggressor, suspended at an attack rate close to 70 for most of his entries, Easwaran took time before opening. He dominated the play in the run-up to Samarth's window. Agar, who drastically improved his second and third spells, got an arm to slip through Samarth's defenses and caught him in the front. The openers had added 174 and had halved the deficit by then.

But India offered Australia a way back. With the first ball of the next Agar ball, Easwaran called for a run from the other end when Shreyas Iyer had cleaned one to cover to the left. However, Iyer, still new to the fold and considerably one step ahead, was not interested in the race. Easwaran tried desperately to return, but was interrupted by exhaustion. The batsmen of India have not won a hundred in this series, and Easwaran was the last one on the list of those who came close.

While Australia managed to slow things down after having produced some nervous moments for Iyer and Ankit Bawne, they did not seem closer to getting a spot until Mitchell Swepson changed the angle against Bawne in the penultimate part of the day. The legpsinner kept the lid open and threw a wide out of the entire wicket, causing the batter to try a drive that was not close enough to play. Matthew Renshaw endured on the first slip.

The brightest period of Australia in the day had arrived early when Marsh, having survived a cry of lbw and narrowly escaping when an arm failed him 91, advanced to make his eighth first-century class. At the other extreme, he had lost nightly companion Michael Neser in the second part of the day, and the rest of the lower order was impotent against Kuldeep. Marsh tried to raise the running speed as a result, but with a ball to survive in the 109th, Doggett stretched forward to defend a wrong Kuldeep he had not chosen. The edge was taken on the first slip and Kuldeep completed his eighth five-wicket run. Australia added only 56 to its score overnight.


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