Millennium Post

Aaron stakes claim for berth

Aaron stakes claim for berth
India’s fast bowlers led by Varun Aaron made full use of the seamer-friendly conditions, as they dismissed an inexperienced Cricket Australia XI for 219 on the first day of their opening two-day warm-up fixture on Monday.

All the Indian bowlers were among wickets as Aaron, who worked up good pace, finishing with figures of three for 72 in 17 overs. Aaron thus kept himself in contention for a place in the playing XI in the opening Test at Brisbane, starting December 4 while Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/32 in 12 overs) and Mohammed Shami (2/52 in 18 overs) also got precious overs under their belt.

At stumps, India were 55 for one losing Shikhar Dhawan’s (10) wicket. Murali Vijay (32 batting) and Cheteshwar Pujara (13 batting) were at the crease at stumps. Another highlight was wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha’s fine performance behind the stumps as he took five catches and also effected a stumping to start his preparations for the first Test in right earnest.

At the onset, it was CA XI captain Ashton Turner, who won the toss and elected to bat on a fresh track at the Gilderol Stadium. He was involved in a 51-run partnership with opener Ryan Carters (58) before Aaron, in a quick burst, removed Turner (29) and new batsman Nick Stevens (0) in space of three balls. It brought Kelvin Smith (40) to the crease who put on 74 runs for the fourth wicket with Carters on either side of lunch.

It was the best stand of the innings for the hosts. Once the two batsmen were dismissed within three overs after the lunch break, the Indian bowlers didn’t let up the pressure and knocked over the remaining wickets cheaply. Only the last wicket stand pair of Harry Nielsen (43 no) and Harry Conway (7), showed some resistance as the duo put on 52 runs to take the team’s total past 200-run mark.

On a pitch that assisted fast bowlers, Aaron rattled up the young batting order with sheer pace. Leggie Karn Sharma (2-30) was introduced into the attack ahead of Ravichandran Ashwin (1-22), but he couldn’t find his bearings in the pre-lunch session.

After the break though, when re-introduced against lower middle order batsmen, he was in better control and picked up a handy two wickets in his first outing in Australia. Ashwin had earlier dropped a catch at first slip off Aaron, with Smith the lucky batsman, while keeper Wriddhiman Saha had a good day behind the wickets pocketing five catches.

This match is stipulated as a 13-per-side game with 11 players eligible to bat and 11 can field. This is not an official first-class game. India opted to rest Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Naman Ojha and KL Rahul from this match with all other members of the touring party involved in the proceedings. This is the first of two practice games against Cricket Australia XI scheduled this week before the commencement of the Test series.

Briefscores India 55/1 trail Cricket Australia XI 219 (Carters 58, Aaron 3-72) by 164 runs.
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