With the conclusion of the recent 4 day warm up match between Australia and the Indian Board Presidents XI, it is now less than a week till the first test of the highly anticipated Border-Gavaskar 4 match Test series in India.
Having drawn their 2 day warm-up game a few days after arriving in India, the Australians were from what I can see a little weaker in certain elements of their game.
The IBP XI batted first, and Yuvraj Singh led them well and has most likely secured a spot in the starting eleven for the first Test.
After they amassed 455 in their first innings with Rohit Sharma (105), 19-year old Virat Kohli (105), Parthiv Patel (62) and Irfan Pathan (56) leading the attack with high intensity.
In his innings of 105, Rohit Sharma smashed 12 fours and 4 sixes.
Mitchell Johnson showed some maturity with the ball with figures of 4/75 off 23.4 overs in the first innings. Stuart Clark managed 3/67 and Peter Siddle (of Victoria) 2/64. Brett Lee picked up one but led the bowling attack with economic consistency.
Australia struggled up front with the loss of Matthew Hayden (20), Simon Katich (15) and Michael Clarke (18). Ricky Ponting showed, in both innings’, his determination to shut the critics up about his in India batting record. Ponting scored 41 and then 58* not out.
Michael Hussey was the savior of the innings as he ended up being the last man standing with an unbeaten 126*. Brad Haddin offered a good contribution of 34 before being dismissed on the fourth ball of the third day. Wickets tumbled as Piyush Chawla (5/89) rattled the lower order. Stuart Clark then surprised many as him and Michael Hussey put together a 96 run partnership for the 10th wicket. Clark made 44 as Australia were dismissed for 314.
The IPB XI lost 2 early wickets before Wasim Jaffer (93) and Yuvraj Singh (113) continued to sink the Australian’s deeper from the victory surface.
Yuvraj hit 7 sixes and 7 fours in his Captains innings.
Rohit Sharma managed 29* before the declaration was called.
Stuart Clark was the pick of the bowlers with 3/33, no doubt proving he is ideal man for Test match level!
Australia, after once again losing Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich at the top of the order, were kept in the match by Ricky Ponting and Vice-Captain Michael Clarke 36*.
The result was a draw as Australia ended with 127/2.
An extra day would have seen an exciting combat endure!
The slower bowlers made very little impact on the Australian front, whereas the Indian slower bowlers managed better utilisation of the wicket. Jason Krejza made little impact this time around, as opposed to the 2 day game where himself and Peter Siddle made an impact. But there is time for them to make a mark.
Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich didn’t perform up front, with Phil Jaques being left out, but the most likely situation is that these two will find the firing button in time for the first test.
Katich was favored for the starting line-up over Jaques.
Other news is that Bryce McGain (the 36 year old Victorian spinner) has been sent back home due to a lingering shoulder injury.
Cameron White has been the replacement candidate. White recently played with Australia in the home series against Bangladesh and another ODI series in India for Australia A. He was picked in place of the likes of Beau Casson, Ashley Noffke and Nathan Bracken. Casson and Bracken, would have been equally fitting replacements as Australia’s bowling attack seems to need an extra ingredient.
Shane Watson is still the likely all-rounder for the first test, but missed the four day warm up after picking up a fever.
Keep your reading browsers alert for my forecast looking at the Border-Gavaskar 4 match Test series, which starts this Thursday October 9th.
Click here for the tour fixtures
Click here for the warm-up match scorecard between Australia and the Indian Board Presidents XI.