India A crush Australia A to clinch Tri-Series
India A thumped Australia A by 50 runs at Pretoria in what was a relatively low scoring final, to clinch the A Team Tri-Series on Wednesday.
After electing to bat first in an all-important finale, India A lost opener Rohit Sharma (6) early in the innings as Josh Hazlewood (3/31) trapped him plumb in front. Shikhar Dhawan (62) continued his breathtaking form and struck 9 fours on his way to another half-century. Skipper Cheteshwar Pujara (1) was unable to get a start and returned to the pavilion quickly off Glenn Maxwell (1/24). Dinesh Karthik (73) though, rose to the occasion and delivered a mature performance, steadying India A’s ship along with Dhawan at the other end. Together, the duo added 108 runs for the 3rd wicket.
However, man in form Dhawan soon departed off Moises Henriques (2/47), and was immediately followed by Karthik who fell to Nathan Coulter-Nile (3/35). Once again, Suresh Raina (17) couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity and was dismissed by Mitchell Marsh (1/11). At this stage, India A were reeling at 166/5 in the 32nd over, desperately in need of a partnership.
Ambati Rayudu (34) and Wriddhiman Saha (31) were then involved in a 65-run stand for the 6th wicket, breathing life into India A’s batting woes and helping the side cross 200. Post that, wickets tumbled as Rayudu and Saha departed in quick succession. The tailenders were cleaned up by Coulter-Nile and Hazlewood and India A were wrapped up for 243 in 49.2 overs.
Australia A began their innings cautiously, but were off to a flyer scoring 30 runs in the first 5 overs, setting up the base for a considerably easy chase. But it was Mohammad Shami (2/18) who struck for India A as he quickly got rid of both openers Aaron Finch (20) and Shaun Marsh (11). The in-form Glenn Maxwell (12) was then dismissed by Suresh Raina (1/19), followed by Nic Maddinson who departed off Ishwar Pandey (1/17). Mitchell Marsh (2) was run-out immediately and Australia A were staring at a huge defeat in no time with 53 runs on the board at the loss of 5 wickets.
Moises Henriques (20) tried to revive his side’s chances, but succumbed to the bowling of Shahbaz Nadeem (3/34), who picked two quick wickets to further diminish Australia A’s hopes. However, a fighting knock by Tim Paine (47) kept his team in the game as India A looked to close in on an important victory. He was soon cleaned up by Parvez Rasool (1/30) and the Aussies were in deep trouble. Gurinder Sandhu’s (21) efforts went in vain as Fawad Ahmed (9) was run-out by Dhawan, folding the Aussie innings for 193 in 46.3 overs.