Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Australia sledge, but Mumbai"s India A batsman Shreyas Iyer scores 85

Shreyas Iyer (inset) of India ‘A’ en route his 85 not out on Day 2 of the warm-up vs Australia at Brabourne on Saturday. PIC/SURESH KARKERA

So the Aussies have started showing their true colour. But despite some hard sledging from the Australians, India ‘A’ No. 3 Shreyas Iyer countered the visitors excellently with the bat to remain not out on 85 with the team’s total reading 176 for four at stumps on Day Two of the three-day game at Brabourne Stadium on Saturday.

The 22-year-old Mumbai batsman came to the crease when off-spinner Nathan Lyon sent his Mumbai teammate Akhil Herwadkar (4) back taking a sharp return catch off his own bowling in his fourth over. Not deterred by Herwadkar’s dismissal, Iyer hit Lyon for a huge six between mid-wicket and long-on off the very first ball he faced. That wasn’t a rush of blood, because Iyer was otherwise very watchful and articulate during his 93-ball knock. He struck five sixes and seven fours during his innings and was especially harsh on both the Aussie spinners. The Mumbai middle-order batsman made good use of his feet to hit Lyon for three sixes and got two off left-arm spinner Stephen O’Keefe.

Iyer, who scored a ton for India ‘A’ against Bangladesh in Hyderabad two weeks ago, brought up his 50 in just 44 balls. He held one end up, first stitching a 44-run second wicket partnership with opener Priyank Panchal (36). Then, he added 57 for the third wicket with Ankit Bawane (25) before adding another 52 runs for the fourth wicket with skipper Hardik Pandya (19).

When asked to compare the Aussie spin attack with Bangladeshi bowlers, Iyer said: “I think the Australian bowlers are way better than Bangladesh. The Bangladesh bowlers were easy to predict. But here, apart from the skills, there’s also a bit of sledging that keeps happening (from) behind which keeps playing on your mind.”

Elaborating on the sledging aspect, Iyer said: “Mathew Wade, the wicketkeeper and David Warner from slips, were constantly saying that ‘this guy doesn’t know how to play a defensive stroke’, ‘he can’t defend the ball’, and few other things like that. So maybe they were frustrated that I was proving them wrong.”

When asked about Iyer’s dominance against spinners Mitchell Marsh said: “He’s a good player. All players in the sub-continent attack our spinners. But at the same time, I think Lyon came back really well at him. But yeah, he looks a good player.”

For the visitors Lyon and pacer Jakson Bird claimed two wickets each. Earlier, Australia declared their first innings on 469 for seven after Marsh (75) and Matthew Wade (65), who were unbeaten on 16 and seven respectively overnight, got some good batting time in the middle. India ‘A’ are 293 runs behind with six first innings wickets in hand.

Brief scores

Australia 469-7 decl (S Smith 107, S Marsh 104, M Marsh 75, M Wade 64; N Saini 2-42) vs India ‘A’ 176-4 (S Iyer 85*, P Panchal 36; J Bird 2-15)

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