Murali Vijay struck a confident hundred while KL Rahul scored a half-century in the warm-up game against Cricket Australia XI, easing off any worries in the Indian dressing room in their final outing before the first Test in Adelaide. Vijay, returning to the Test squad after being dropped mid-way through the England tour, celebrated his comeback with an unbeaten century off 118 balls. He looked solid throughout the innings on the fourth day, and had reached his half-century off 91 balls. Thereafter he sped through the second fifty-runs, off only 27 balls, getting to three figures off 118 deliveries. He hit 26 runs off Jake Carder (0-41) in one over to race to his hundred.
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Earlier, Rahul scored 62 (98 balls) as the duo put on 109 runs for the opening wicket as India finished at 211-2 (43.4 overs) in their second innings at stumps on day four of the tour game against Cricket Australia XI here at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Rahul batted with greater confidence than in recent times, hitting eight fours and a six, as he warmed up for the first Test. At times, he did look shaky with circumspect timing, as seen in his dismissal off a full toss caught at mid-wicket. Hanuma Vihari (15 not out) came out at number three and finished unbeaten at stumps.
This was after Cricket Australia XI finished at 544 runs (151.1 overs) in their first innings and kept India in the field for as long as possible. India had scored 358 in their first innings.
Mohammed Shami (3-97) did not bowl on this final day, while R Ashwin (2-122 in 40 overs) and Ishant Sharma (1-73 in 22 overs) sent down a majority of overs in the morning session. India though tested their fifth bowling options again as Vihari (0-34), Virat Kohli (1-27) and Murali Vijay (0-17) sent down 13 overs between them.
Harry Nielsen (100) scored a hundred off 170 balls, including nine fours, and was out caught at mid-off as he hit a skier off Kohli.
The hosts’ lower order all got good runs with Daniel Fallins (43), Luke Robins (38 not out) and Jackson Coleman (36) keeping the visitors chasing leather in the sun. The latter duo added 57 runs for the final wicket.
So much so that India brought on Jasprit Bumrah (1-0) and Kuldeep Yadav (0-3), not initially included in the 14-man list at the start of the game, to bowl after lunch.
Bumrah looked in good rhythm as he bowled Coleman with a well-aimed yorker off his seventh delivery.