Smith, Marsh post tons in warm-up game

Navdeep Saini impresses on a day dominated by batsmen

On a day when Australia’s T20 side was taking on Sri Lanka at the MCG, Captain Steven Smith struck a century miles away from the iconic ground at another historic venue, the Cricket Club of India in a warm-up match against India A. The visitors posted 327/3 in 90 overs at the end of first day’s play on Friday.

Australia lost two wickets in the first session and one in the third after dominating the second session in which they added 130 runs in 33 overs courtesy a solid 156-run stand between Shaun Marsh and Smith. Ahead of the first Test against India in Pune from February 21, the visitors excluded Usman Khawaja from the XI, giving an indication of the possible batting line-up for the opening Test.

Marsh, the only other batsman with Smith to have scored a century on their tour to Sri Lanka where they suffered a 3-0 loss, looked comfortable in the afternoon session after arriving at the crease at 55-2.
The visitors survived an anxious moment immediately after the start of play when Ashoke Dinda’s fifth ball thudded into the pads of Matthew Renshaw.

It was Renshaw’s first ball of the day and the opener heaved a sigh of relief when the umpire judged him not out. On a pitch with enough tinge of green, captain Hardik Pandya decided to bowl first and made his intentions clear by having three slips and a gully. He shared the new ball with Dinda and bowled an opening spell of seven overs.

David Waner started in a typically attacking manner hitting four boundaries before he was done in a by a short ball from Navdeep Saini. The Delhi bowler looked impressive with his seam position. Looking to pull, Warner only managed to get a top edge and was caught by wicket-keeper Ishan Kishan.
Saini was rewarded again and removed Warner’s partner Matthew Renshaw (11) with a beautiful inswinger. After testing the left-hander with away going deliveries, Saini changed the angle and came around the wicket and Had Renshaw caught behind. At Lunch, Australia were 81/2 but the experienced Smith changed the course in the second session. After getting to his half-century in 72 balls, Smith batted freely and stepped out on a few occasions to bring up his century in 186 minutes off 154 balls.

The partnership continued to blossom and India A were forced to operate with part-timers to accompany Shahbaz Nadeem as Karnataka off-spinner K Gowtham pulled up his hamstring and had to be taken for a scan. Mumbai’s Akhil Herwadkar and Shreyas Iyer bowled 18 overs before Priyank Panchal was summoned to bowl four overs.

Smith did not return to bat in the final session. Marsh was on 88 when Saini dropped him off Herwadkar’s bowling and then went on to get his century in 171 balls with a sweep shot. Like Smith, he too retired after his century. Pandya picked up his first wicket of the day when he had Handscomb caught by Panchal soon after taking the second new ball.

Brief score: Australia 327/3 in 90 overs (Steve Smith 107 retired, Shaun Marsh 104 retired, Peter Handscomb 45, David Warner 25, Navdeep Saini 2/27)

BCCI Staff

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Unbeaten India Women seal World Cup berth

Bowlers restrict Bangladesh to sub-par total; Mithali Raj and Meshram bring up victory

India Women beat Bangladesh Women by nine wickets in the Super Six phase of the ICC Women’s World Cup, 2017 Qualifiers in Sri Lanka. With an unbroken 136-run partnership for the second wicket opener Mona Meshram (78*) &Mithali Raj (73*) helped chase down the 156-run target in 33.3 overs.

After India elected to field, pacers – ShikhaPandey and Mansi Joshi kept the Bangladesh openers on a tight leash. Joshi dealt the first blow by sending back Sharmin Sultana in the eight over and in the next over accounted for Sanjida Islam to leave Bangladesh on 14 for two.

SharminAkhter then found an ally in FarganaHoque and the pair worked with determination to rebuild the innings. However, the Indian bowlers had dried up the flow of runs and maintained a strangle hold on the batters. The duo managed to add 62 runs in 23.2 overs until DevikaVaidya had Akhter stumped to end the partnership.

After getting the breakthrough India picked wickets at regular intervals as they continued to keep the batters in check. ShikhaPandey sent back Rumana Ahmed with the side on 97 while Hoque was sent back by Joshi on the next ball after reaching her half-century with a boundary.

With seven overs left in the innings, Bangladesh needed to up their ante but continued to lose wickets as they looked to add to the total.

Salma Khatun was bowled by RajeshwariGayakwad leaving Bangladesh on 138 for six while Nigar Sultana was run out in the next over.
ShailaSharmin and JahanaraAlam then added 15 runs in 13 balls to take Bangladesh to 155 for eight. Alam was the last wicket to fall off the last ball; sent back by Vaidya for two.

India then lost Deepti Sharma with 22 runs on the board. The opener was caught by Khadija Tul Kubra off her own bowling. Mithali then joined Meshram in scaling the target. The pair milked the Bangladesh bowlers steadily to attain the target with ease. The India captain brought up the win with a six off Khadija Tul Kubra. 

BCCI Staff

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