Ambati Rayudu, last day's draw
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AN Ambati Rayudu knock on most days is like watching an action thriller directed in an arty fashion — fast and furious but also laced with plenty of panache and substance.
All of which was on show as the 27-year-old Board President's XI No.4 stroked his way to a fluent 87 at the Guru Nanak College ground in Chennai. Rayudu was the only home batsman to notch up a half-century as the Australians bowled the side out for 230 on the second and concluding day of the warm-up fixture.
The 2012-13 season has been a watershed in a number of ways for the Baroda right-hander, from finding consistency to his batting across all formats to being picked on national duty for the first time-the T20s against Pakistan.
On Wednesday, Rayudu strode out for the first time against a touring national team. And during his 150-ball stay at the crease, he gave a very radiant first impression of himself to the Australians. He was self-assured as always at the crease despite never really having a stable partner at the other end and mixed his inherent aggression with a solid show of technique. He was tested for sure, especially when having to contend the nagging lines and lengths of Peter Siddle and Jackson Bird, and the reverse-swing of Moises Henriques.
It was Henriques who provided the first challenge after the New South Wales all-rounder had Mandeep Singh caught behind with his second delivery. Rayudu countered the movement with his bat and pads close together but any delivery that drifted too far towards his pads was dispatched to the square-leg fence. He didn't mind taking a while to settle in against the Australian pacers with Siddle also getting an extended work-out in the Chennai heat.
Apart from the grace, Rayudu also possesses shock-value. And the right-hander left even Siddle astounded when he got under a short-pitched delivery and upper-cut it over the slips for a boundary. With his assault against the likes of Nathan Lyon, James Maxwell and Steve Smith, he might also have ensured some furrowed brows in the Australian camp regarding their spinners' aspirations from the tour.