India ‘A’ batsmen falter on Day 3, stare at defeat

Opener Abhinav Mukund is still hopeful of turnaround on final day

Chennai: India A may have failed to grab the opportunities on Day 3, but opener Abhinav Mukund still believes that the hosts can pull off a win if their lower-order batsmen and bowlers make it count against Australia A in the second unofficial 'Test' here on Saturday.

After conceding a 214-run lead, the Indian top-order faltered to convert good starts into big scores as the hosts finished the day on 267 for six, a second-innings lead of 53.

Mukund (59) still believes that the Cheteshwar Pujara-led side can turn the tables on the final day.

"Couple of batsmen playing in the middle are actually good proper middle-order batsmen. Hopefully we get a sizable lead tomorrow and look to roll them out," Mukund said in the post-day chat.

"Whatever we get. At the end of the day, we have four wickets. These two (Baba Aparajith 28 not out and Shreyas Gopal 0 not out) are really good batsmen. Both of them have very good first class scores. Hopefully, these two bat for a while tomorrow morning. Any score is difficult in the fourth innings. If we get anything about 150, it is going to be a tough chase. Trust me," he added.

Stitching a 70-run fourth-wicket partnership with Shreyas Iyer (49), Mukund was looking good before an Ashton Agar turner got him back in the pavilion. The left-handed batsman praised the opposition spin ploy.

"I thought I was quite well set and did not expect the ball to bounce as much. I thought Agar got more bounce than Stephen O'Keefe. It was a little harder to play. I usually tend to sweep the ball a bit more but because of the bounce I was not able to do that. I was just looking to rotate the strike," he said.

Mukund survived close LBW call before he finally edged an Agar turner to Cameron Bancroft. There was a bit of verbal duel between the opener and the Australians, which Mukund brushed it off as an on-field chat.

"Nothing big actually. That was about close lbw call. Usually they talk and I would like to talk back. It was just a conversation regarding the umpire and all that. I just said I am honest, I would have walked if I actually had hit it. After I got out, I stayed back and asked him whether he caught it," he said.

Even after letting go their good enough starts, Mukund said that everybody stuck to their natural game.

"Everyone played their natural game and it is important for people to play their natural game. I generally cannot comment as to how the other people can go about it. All I can tell you that personally I look to play the way I would like to play. I thought the game plan worked out well for me," he said.

( Source : PTI )
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