Australian batsmen falter against unfancied Dhruv, Saxena
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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 here today.
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.