Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara showed their class as they warmed up to the Test matches in style by smashing fifties against Australia A at the Drummoyne Oval in Sydney on Sunday. This match is part of the two warm-ups that India will play as they prepare for the four-Test series against Australia, with the first match being the Pink Ball Test in Adelaide on December 17. However, it needed the experience of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane to bail India out after they started off on a disastrous note in Sydney after opting to bat.
Shubman Gill was dismissed for a first ball duck by Michael Neser while James Pattinson got the big wicket of Prithvi Shaw for a duck, with Test skipper Tim Paine taking the catch. Hanuma Vihari and Cheteshwar Pujara ground the Australian attack and made incredibly slow progress as they waited for the ball to lose the shine and also for the pitch to lose the freshness. Vihari and Cheteshwar Pujara batted for close to 100 balls before Jackson Bird trapped Vihari in front for 18.
Cheteshwar Pujara was then joined by Ajinkya Rahane and the duo staged the first recovery, with Pujara scoring at a strike-rate of only over 38 as he registered his fifty to once again continue the good form that he exhibited on the previous tour in which he scored over 500 runs with three centuries.
Australia A fight
However, James Pattinson was in fine form and he put himself in the Test reckoning by getting rid of Pujara for 54. India once again suffered a collapse with Travis Head removing Wriddhiman Saha and Ravichandran Ashwin getting out LBW to James Pattinson, who took three wickets.
Kuldeep Yadav then held firm and shared a partnership of over 60 with Rahane who neared a ton as the seventh wicket partnership frustrated Australia A. However, just before the second new ball, Travis Head got the wicket of Kuldeep Yadav as Rahane was in the nervous 90s. Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and Kartik Tyagi are the pacers for this game while Ashwin and Kuldeep are the two spinners.
It is expected that the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami will get a chance in the second warm-up game that will be played from December 11 to December 13 and this will take place at the Sydney Cricket Ground.