A powerful batting performance from Australia followed an impressive spin-bowling spell from Ashton Agar as Australia thrashed Board President’s XI by 103 runs in Chennai on Tuesday to kick-start their limited-overs tour of India in style.
Half-centuries by Marcus Stoinis (76 off 60 balls), Travis Head (65), David Warner (64) and captain Steve Smith (55) put up a huge total of 347/7 for the hosts to chase, after the visitors won the toss and opted to bat.
Among the Indian bowlers, only Washington Sundar impressed with the ball, ending up with figures of 2/23 in eight overs.
Led by Agar’s four-wicket haul, Australia dismissed the Board President’s side for 244 in 48.2 overs.
The home team, consisting mostly of rookies, was never in the hunt despite a 79-run partnership for the second wicket between opener Shreevats Goswami (43) and Mayank Agarwal (42).
After the early exit of opener Rahul Tripathi (7), Goswami and Agarwal struggled to force the pace against some accurate bowling from the Australians. The duo took 15 overs to add 79 runs as the required run-rate kept climbing.
Agarwal, who was dropped early in his innings by Glenn Maxwell, fell for 42 while going for a big hit against leg- spinner Adam Zampa, caught in the deep by Warner.
The BP XI’s innings floundered after Agarwal’s exit as wickets kept falling at regular intervals. Goswami followed soon, bowled by Stoinis.
Nitish Rana, who had a good IPL season for Mumbai Indians, showed some sense of urgency and struck three fours but was run-out in a mix-up with captain Gurkeerat Mann.
Shivam Chaudhary, Mann, Govind Poddar and Sundar were dismissed in the space of 18 runs as Australia’s took hold over the game.
There was a big cheer from the spectators when local lad Sundar walked in, after his heroics with the ball. The tall left-hander struck a couple of boundaries but was caught by Agar when going for a big shot off Kane Richardson’s (2/36) bowling.
There was some late resistance from Akshay Karnewar (40) and Kushang Patel (41 not out), who indulged in lusty hitting to take the score past 200.
Besides Agar and Richardson, a replacement for the injured Josh Hazlewood, James Faulkner, Zampa and Stoinis got picked up one wicket each for Australia.
Pacemen Pat Cummins bowled only four overs as the Australians apparently thought it fit to conserve his energies after his exertions in the Bangladesh Test series.
Earlier, the Australian batsmen enjoyed a good hit-out with Stoinis’ aggressive knock providing the impetus to the innings after the team appeared to stutter slightly following a superb century partnership between Warner and Smith, who both made half-centuries.
Coming in at No. 6, Stoinis hit some big shots off the spinners, especially Karnewar.
He was involved in a quick 88-run stand with Head, who made 65. He also put on 85 runs with Matthew Wade, who smashed 45 off 24 balls, slamming four sixes in the process.
Stoinis was in punishing form and hammered two consecutive sixes in an over from Karnewar and took a liking to Gurkeerat Mann’s bowling.
The Aussies were 158/4 in 28.2 overs at the fall of Glenn Maxwell’s wicket and the home team appeared to be coming back after a brisk start. However, Stoinis seemed to have other ideas as he got going after a slowish start.
Along with Head, he helped the World Cup (50-overs) winners regain momentum and then in the company of Wade took the attack to the BP XI bowlers, who struggled as the two went on the rampage.
For BP XI, Sundar, who made a mark in this year’s IPL for Rising Pune Supergiant, was the best bowler.
Kushang Patel also picked up two wickets, but he was expensive giving away 58 runs in six overs.
After Sandeep Sharma bowled a maiden over first up, the visitors suffered a jolt when allrounder Hilton Cartwright, pushed up the order in the absence of regular opener Aaron Finch, fell to promising paceman Avesh Khan for a duck.
Warner and Smith, after a cautious start, opened up with the latter outpacing his partner initially. The duo raised the team 50 in the 10th over and began to score freely.
The flamboyant southpaw fell when he appeared set for a big score, caught behind by Goswami off Kushang Patel for a strokeful 64 which came in just 48 balls.
The Warner-Smith partnership of 106 runs set the tempo for the visiting side.
Smith struck form and en route displayed his repertoire of strokes. However, he was dismissed by Sundar. Maxwell scratched for most part of his 14-run innings and was also dismissed by Sundar.
With PTI Inputs