Chennai: It was a start Australian captain Steve Smith would have yearned for. Four of his batsmen scored half centuries as Smith & Co. walloped the Board President’s XI by 103 runs in their warm-up game at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Tuesday. Chasing 347, the President’s XI fell woefully short in 48.2 overs.
The start was inauspicious for President’s XI as opener Rahul Tripathi nicked pacer Kane Richardson to the wicketkeeper in the fourth over. Shreevats Goswami and Mayank Agarwal tried to rebuild with a cautious approach but they perished in quick succession.
From then on, life got tough for Gurkeerat Singh Mann’s team. Nitish Rana and the experienced Gurkeerat had a daunting task ahead with the asking rate sky-rocketing to eight runs an over. After Rana’s run-out resulting from a miscommunication, a superb one-handed catch by James Faulkner at mid-on saw the back of the captain. Akshay Karnewar and Kushang Patel put up some resistance but the visitors dismissed the lower order without much ado for a comprehensive win.
After winning the toss, Australia did not get off to a start they would have preferred ahead of the first ODI on Sunday. With no runs on the board fast bowler Avesh Khan removed Hilton Cartwright in the second over. The Australian all-rounder, who was part of the squad to Bangladesh, did not have any time to get used to the conditions in Chennai as he missed the training session on Monday owing to illness and was a doubt for the match until Tuesday morning.
The President’s XI failed to achieve further success in the first hour of play. Captain Steve Smith and his second-in-command David Warner smashed pacers Kushang Patel, Kulwant Khejroliya and Sandeep Sharma all over the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.
The breakthrough came for the home team in the 16th over when pacer Kushang had Warner caught behind for 64 (off 48 balls). In a bid to stem the flow of runs, Gurkeerat threw the ball to off-spinner Washington Sundar and left-arm spinner Rahil Shah, both of whom are from Chennai.
Washington who knows a thing or two about Smith, having played alongside him for Rising Pune Supergiant in the last edition of the IPL, sent the Australian packing for 55 (off 68 balls) in the 23rd over. The 28-year-old glanced the ball towards square-leg only to be caught by his counterpart Gurkeerat. Washington also scalped Glenn Maxwell with a return catch.
After the loss of three wickets in the span of 13 overs, Travis Head and Marcus Stoinis steadied Australia with an 88-run stand. Both of them would go on to complete their half-centuries. Wicketkeeper Mathew Wade who was struggling in the Test series against Bangladesh scored a quick-fire 45 off 24 balls before being bowled by pacer Kushang. But the damage had already been done as the Australians had raced past the 300-run mark.
Australia: D. Warner c Goswami b Patel 64, H. Cartwright c Gurkeerat b Avesh Khan 0, S. Smith c Gurkeerat b Washington 55, T. Head c Sandeep b Karnewar 65, G. Maxwell c&b Washington 14, M. Stoinis c Tripathi b Khejroliya 76, M. Wade b Patel 45, J. Faulkner (not out) 8, A. Agar (not out) 8. Extras ((lb-8, nb-1, w-3) 12. Total (for seven wickets in 50 overs) 347.
FoW: 1-0, 2-106, 3-134, 4-158, 5-246, 6-331, 7-331.
Bowling: Sandeep Sharma 6-1-46-0, Avesh Khan 6-0-40-1, Khejroliya 5-0-37-1, Patel 6-0-58-2, Washington 8-1-23-2, Rahil Shah 7-0-32-0, Karnewar 6-0-59-1, Gurkeerat Singh 6-0-44-0.
Board President’s XI: S. Goswami b Stoinis 43, R. Tripathi c Wade b Richardson 7, M. Agarwal c Warner b Zampa 42, N. Rana run out (Smith) 19, Gurkeerat Singh c Faulkner b Agar 27, S. Chaudhary c Wade b Agar 4, Washington Sundar c Agar b Richardson 11, G.B. Poddar c Smith b Agar 0, A.K. Karnewar c Maxwell b Faulkner 40, KD Patel (not out) 41, R.S. Shah c Cartwright b Agar 3. Extras (lb-2, nb-1, w-4) 7. Total (all out 48.2 overs) 244.
FoW: 1-10, 2-89, 3-102, 4-130, 5-143, 6-148, 7-148, 8-156, 9-222.
Bowling: Coulter-Nile 7-1-16-0, Richardson 6-0-36-2, Head 4-0-24-0, Faulkner 7-0-35-1, Zampa 8-0-59-1, Stoinis 4-0-13-1, Agar 8.2-1-44-4, Cummins 4-0-15-0.