Before their departure to Sri Lanka for a 3-match official Test Series, many cricketers played in India A team against the visiting Australia A in Chennai’s MA Chidambaram stadium. The first test, played during July 22-25, 2015 ended in a draw but the second-string Australian side led by Usman Khwaja beat India A by 10 wickets in the second test that ended on August 1, 2015. The Indian squad was led by Cheteshwar Pujara and they did quite well in the first test. Virat Kohli joined the India A side in the second test but Pujara continued to lead the side. Except for Karun Nair’s 50, India’s batting crumbled against Gurinder Sandhu’s fine spell of seam bowling. After the hosts were bowled out for 135, Australia piled up 349, helped by opener Cameron Bancroft’s 150 runs. India played well in the second innings but their score of 274 was not enough to prevent a 10-wicket win for Australia. Sandhu was the wrecker once again as he picked up 4 more wickets. Australia A thus ended the series with a 1-0 victory.
After doing well in the first unofficial test against Australia A, the Indian side failed to show improved performance against the visitors. Cheteshwar Pujara won the toss and elected to bat. Against the seam bowling of the Australians, however, India A faced trouble from the start. Pujara was the first to depart in the 11th over, when he was clean-bowled by Marcus Stoinis with India’s score of just 18. Kohli, who didn’t play the first test, joined Abhinav Mukund and the two carried the score to 44 in the 18th over. After Abhinav Mukund fell, Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer followed him as India A tottered at 53/4. Karun Nair and Naman Ojha tried to steady the rocking boat with a 56-run fifth wicket partnership but once Naman Ojha departed, it was a beeline by the batsmen going back to the pavilion. India A were bundled out for 135 and Gurinder Singh Sandhu was the most successful Aussie bowlers with figures of 3/25.
Australia A wrested the initiative from India with a 111-run opening stand between Cameron Bancroft and Usman Khwaja. Bancroft went on to score 150 runs and there were useful contributions from Callum Ferguson, who scored 54 and Gurinder Sandhu, who came up with a breezy 27-ball 36. The Australian innings ended at 349 with a 214 lead over India A on the first innings. For India, Baba Aparajith took 5/86 but that hardly affected the Australian batting.
India conducted themselves better in the second knock with six batmen crossing 30-plus but Pujara failed once again. Gurinder Sandhu continued his damaging spell in India’s second innings as well and snapped up four wickets. India lost their last 5 wickets for just 64 runs and handed a 61-run victory target to Australia A. The visitors had all the time in the world to achieve the meager target but Khwaja and Bancroft didn’t want to wait too long. Batting in T-20 fashion, the two Australia A openers reached the target in 6.1 overs taking just 21 minutes of playing time and won the two-match series 1-0.
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