The slow and the unsteady


Last week, against the Board President's XI, the Australians had been bowled out for under 250 at the IC Guru Nanak College ground, nine of their ten wickets falling to spin. In their first innings at the same venue against India A, the Australians once again fell short of 250, and once again lost nine out of ten wickets to spin. Five fell to Gujarat left-arm spinner Rakesh Dhurv, four to Madhya Pradesh offie Jalaj Saxena. The visitors drew the three-day game, their last warm-up match before the Test series, but only after being made to follow on. They made a better fist of their second innings to finish on 195/3, with openers Shane Watson and Ed Cowan making half-centuries.

The Aussies began Day Three 131 for four in their first innings, having lost four wickets for their last 11 runs the previous evening. The overnight pair of Matthew Wade and Moises Henriques took their partnership to 49 before Dhurv trapped the latter in front to take his third wicket. Henriques had been by far the dominant partner in the fifth-wicket stand, striking two fours and three sixes in a 41-ball 33.

After that, India A took less than 17 overs to run through the remainder of the Australians' innings, with Wade who was the only batsman to face over 100 balls last out for 44 (103b. At that point, the tourists had lost 18 wickets and scored 247 runs against the spinners, over their two warm-up games, at an average of 13.72.

Manoj Tiwary had already questioned the Australians' ability against spin. Now, Dhurv joined in. "They don't play spinners too well, which benefitted us," Dhurv said. "The wicket was a slow turner. Their primary deficiency was in defence. They also, at times, failed to judge the speed of the deliveries."

... contd.

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