Rahul and Pujara star for India 'A' on Day 1

KL Rahul fell agonizingly short of century after he was dismissed for 96

Chennai: K. L. Rahul fell agonisingly short of what would have been a crucial century as Australia ‘A’ clawed their way back in the first four-day match here at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Wednesday.

Having amassed 188 against Tamil Nadu in the Ranji final, the 23-year-old looked on course for his second consecutive first-class hundred but he was dismissed for 96. The opener left when the score was 214 and India ‘A’ lost another wicket to finish the day at 221 for six in 77.1 overs when play was called off owing to rain.

When skipper Cheteshwar Pujara joined Rahul as early as the second over at 20 for one, the onus was on the duo to justify the team’s decision to bat. They did apply themselves in the middle to stitch a sturdy stand of 107 runs in 231 balls. A smart field setting of Aussie skipper Usman Khawaja snapped the partnership when Pujara (55) pushed a Fekete delivery to Peter Handscomb.

India A (1st innings): K.L. Rahul c Khawaja b Abbott 96, Abhinav Mukund b Fekete 9, C. Pujara c Khawaja b Fekete 55, Karun Nair c Stoinis b O’Keefe 0, Shreyas Iyer b Sandhu 39, Naman Ojha c Sandhu b O'Keefe 10, Vijay Shankar (batting) 4, Amit Mishra (batting) 0. Extras (b-4, nb-4) 8. Total (for six wickets in 77.1 overs) 221.
FoW: 1-20, 2-127, 3-132, 4-187, 5-214, 6-221.
Bowling: Sandhu 16-5-53-1, Fekete 17-6-38-2, Abbott 14-4-23-1, O’Keefe 19-4-66-2, Stoinis 10-3-37-0, Head 1.1-1-0-0.

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