Day 1 report: Test discard scores an 'A'

SP

When he heard the news of his omission from India squad for the first two Tests against Australia, Gautam Gambhir had put up a stoic public face. "No sympathies plz," he had tweeted. "Lookin forward to training n then d india a game. Chin up guys, its time to show some steel."

On Friday, the eve of the three-day game in which he would lead India A against the Australians, he had exhorted his fans to "Root for India guys, the 'A' next to it is incidental."

Incidental it may have been, but on Saturday, after he had won the toss, he was walking out to bat at the IC Guru Nanak College ground rather than the MA Chidambaram stadium, and accompanying him to the middle was Jiwanjot Singh rather than Virender Sehwag. His tweets may have ticked all the right boxes, but Gambhir still needed to make runs, and knew that any reward for those runs would be deferred till the third Test at least.

On Day One, Gambhir stayed in the middle for 55 overs and scored an aggressive 162-ball 112, which included 13 fours and three sixes. It was his first first class hundred since his 116 in the Chittagong Test against Bangladesh in January 2010. With Rohit Sharma and Manoj Tiwary contributing half-centuries, India A ended the day on an impressive 338/4.

All three frontline spinners the Australians fielded went for runs — between them, Nathan Lyon, Xavier Doherty and Ashton Agar bowled 49 overs at a combined economy rate of 4.98 runs per over. Agar, originally a developmental member of the touring party but given a go in both warm-up games, was particularly expensive, conceding 78 runs in 13 overs at exactly 6 an over, and went wicketless. Fellow left-armer Doherty was the only successful spinner, taking three for 69 in 16 overs.

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