Australia A reach Tri-Series finals
Australia A recorded their third consecutive victory in the A Team Tri-Series, their second against India A and stormed into the finals of the tournament on Sunday.
After winning the toss and electing to bat against India A, Australia A were off to a thunderous start with openers Shaun Marsh (96) and Aaron Finch (27) adding 53 runs for the first wicket. Marsh, who did the bulk of the hitting, struck 9 fours and 3 sixes in his innings. Shahbaz Nadeem (1/52) then provided a breakthrough for the Indians, dismissing Finch. Nic Maddinson (12) was the second wicket to fall, as he was caught and bowled by Parvez Rasool (1/55). Glenn Maxwell (93), who was coming off an impressive hundred in his previous game against India A, was promoted up the order. Together, the duo put up 139 runs for the third wicket and Australia A were racing towards a mighty total. Stuart Binny (4/55) then came up with an impressive spell, getting rid of both Marsh and the dangerous Maxwell, followed by Moises Henriques (0) and Tim Paine (3). Australia A were 250/6 in the 45th over, and were boosted by a 7th wicket partnership between Mitchell Marsh (34) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (37) that yielded 60 runs to take the side to a huge score of 310 in 50 overs.
In response, India A were off to a flyer with Rohit Sharma (61) and Murali Vijay (60) both getting to their respective fifties. Sharma departed to an effective run-out from Coulter-Nile after adding 79 runs for the 1st wicket with Vijay. Cheteshwar Pujara (51) finally struck form, scoring his first fifty of the series and put up a 78-run stand for the 2nd wicket. Vijay was then dismissed by Mitchell Marsh, followed by Raina who returned to the pavilion in single figures. Pujara, too, fell to Josh Hazlewood (3/59), who also picked up Dinesh Karthik (6) and India were reeling at 200/5 in the 37th over. Stuart Binny (2) was stumped off Fawad Ahmed’s bowling, while Ambati Rayudu (32) departed after a quick cameo, further reducing India A’s chances of a win. Moises Henriques (3/24) then cleaned up the tail, picking Mohammad Shami (14), Siddharth Kaul (11) and Shahbaz Nadeem (3) and India A were all-out for 285 in 48.3 overs.
As a result of this win, Australia A have qualified for the finals of the Tri-series, where they take on either India A or South Africa A on August 14.