Captain Ajinkya Rahane led India A’s fightback with a splendid century on the opening day of their three-day practice match against Australia A at the Drummoyne Oval, in Sydney, on Sunday.
Rahane was unbeaten on 108 as India A finished Day 1 on 237 for eight in 90 overs.
He was instrumental in rescuing India after a horror start, putting on 76 runs for the fourth wicket with Cheteshwar Pujara, who battled hard for his 54 from 140 balls, as the two senior players got back among the runs ahead of the four-Test series, starting in Adelaide on December 17.
Rahane was solid in defense while being quite selective with his footwork, as he punished all loose deliveries, hitting 16 boundaries and a six during his 228-ball knock.
Pujara, returning to action after nine months, also looked quite assured at the crease. He glanced James Pattinson fine on the leg side for successive boundaries in the ninth over.
Earlier, India A won the toss and elected to bat but they got off to a horror start as both openers Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill fell for ducks.
Pacers Micheal Neser and James Pattinson struck early to remove both the young India openers as they were reduced to 6/2 in the third over.
Gill was caught in the slips off an inside edge which went off the pads towards third slip, while Shaw poked away from his body to get an edge and was caught by wicketkeeper Tim Paine.
Hanuma Vihari made 15 before he played all over a full delivery, trying to flick it but missed and was given out leg before wicket to Jackson Bird.
Pujara battled hard during his 140-ball knock, hitting five boundaries, as he looked to get into the groove for the upcoming Test series, starting in Adelaide on December 17. He was caught at short fine leg trying by Marcus Harris to nudge a short ball on the leg side.
Wriddhiman Saha also fell without scoring, trapped leg before wicket by part-time spinner Travis Head and Ravichandran Ashwin became Pattinson’s third wicket of the innings, when he also fell in the same fashion for five.
Rahane kept Australia A’s bowlers at bay in the company of Kuldeep Yadav, who battled bravely for 15 from 73 balls, as they put on vital 69 runs for the seventh wicket.
Kuldeep was dismissed Head attempting the sweep shot, while Umesh Yadav smashed 24 from 18 balls before he was dismissed leg before wicket by Neser.