Mumbai, Feb 17:
India A bowlers were largely ineffective, allowing Steve Smith and senior batsman Shaun Marsh to strike comfortable hundreds as Australia started their Test tour in impressive fashion in the three-day warm-up game, here today.
Riding on the two batsmen’s centuries before both were retired out, Australia made 327 for five wickets by stumps on day one of the match against a largely unimpressive India A attack at the Brabourne Stadium.
At close, Mitchell Marsh (16) and Matthew Wade (7) were the unbeaten batsmen.
Smith and Marsh came together after the visitors had lost openers David Warner (25) and Matt Renshaw (11) when the score was 55 for two. They were largely untroubled by the home team’s attack before both retired to the pavilion after notching up hundreds and putting on 156 runs for the third wicket.
Medium pacer Navdeep Saini dismissed Warner and Renshaw in his six-over first spell by coming on as first-change before lunch and then finished with 2 for 27 at the end of the day. Captain Hardik Pandya picked up the wicket of Peter Handscomb late in the day with the second new ball.
Smith, who is expected to be a big thorn in the Indian bowlers’ flesh in the four-Test series commencing at Pune on February 23, played fluently against both pace and spin.
The right-handed batsman made 107, his 30th hundred that includes 15 in Test cricket in his 100th first-class game, in 161 balls before he decided not to resume his innings after tea, when Australia were 211 for 2.
Smith played a chance-less knock and impressed with the way he dealt with left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem. He also smacked him over long on for a six by dancing down the pitch besides timing the ball superbly to hit 12 fours too.
The left-handed Marsh, preferred over Usman Khawaja repaid the faith by making an assured 104 in 173 balls and in 213 minutes.
He too retired after reaching his century after tea to leave Peter Handscomb (45) and his brother Mitchell Marsh (16) to carry on when the total read 288 for two in 75 overs.
Shaun, who struck 10 fours and one six, could have been out on 88 when he pulled part-time spinner Akhil Herwadkar but was put down by Saini at short mid-wicket.
The home team’s bowling suffered a setback when off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham hurt his hamstring while fielding after lunch and limped off the field.
Saini, who took 2 for 13 in his pre-lunch spell of six overs, too limped off after bowling four balls in the first over after lunch but returned to the field and also bowled a couple of overs late in the day. (PTI)