India A vs Australia A: Ajinkya Rahane ton leads India A to 237 for 8

Ajinkya Rahane. Pic: BCCI/Twitter

Ajinkya Rahane hit a hard-fought century on Day 1 of the three-day practice match against Australia A at Sydney. India A ended the day on 237 or 8. Leading the side, Ajinkya Rahane remained unbeaten on 108 from 228 balls.

The 32-year-old hit 16 fours and a six during his stay at the crease as India A batted first after winning the toss. Ajinkya Rahane’s form is crucial to India’s chances in the Test matches in the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli for three of the four Tests.

The captain for the match featured in a 76-run stand for the fourth wicket with Cheteshwar Pujara, who contributed 54. Pujara hit five fours in his knock and batted for 140 balls before being caught by Marcus Harris off James Pattinson.

Wicket-keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha (0) and Ravichandran Ashwin (5) followed Pujara into the dressing room. Then Ajinkya Rahane found a surprise ally in left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav (15). The duo added an impressive 69 runs for the seventh wicket as Yadav held fort for 78 balls.

After Kuldeep Yadav’s departure, Umesh Yadav had some fun with the bat, spanking 24 in 18 balls before being trapped lbw by Micheal Neser.

Had it not been for Ajinkya Rahane’s hundred, India A would have been in greater trouble. They got off to a horrible start as Shubman Gill was out first ball, caught by Harris off Neser.

Prithvi Shaw’s poor run from the IPL continued as he registered yet another duck. He was caught behind for an eight-ball 0 off Pattinson’s bowling.

Hanuma Vihari hung on for a few overs. However, just when it seemed like the batsman had got his eye in, he was trapped lbw by Jackson Bird. Vihari contributed 15 in 51 balls with the aid of a couple of fours. Ajinkya Rahane’s partnerships with the lower order ensured India A recovered from 128 for 6.

Pacer Pattinson was Australia A’s most successful bowler with 3 for 58. Neser and Australia A skipper Travis Head claimed two scalps each while Bird chipped in with one.

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