Steven Smith and Shaun Marsh hit centuries to lift the Australians to a commanding 327 for 5 on the first day of the three-day warm-up game against India A at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai on Friday (February 17).
The Australians were in a spot of bother after having been sent in to bat, as they lost David Warner (25) and Matt Renshaw (11), the openers, inside 17 overs. Both the left-handers were caught behind off Navdeep Saini’s (2 for 27) bowling to leave Australia reeling at 55 for 2.
Smith and Shaun, the only two Australia batsmen to score hundreds in their 3-0 whitewash in Sri Lanka in last year, did their reputation no harm in their partnership of 156 runs before the skipper retired on 107 at tea. His 161-ball knock was studded with 12 boundaries and a six, while Shaun piled up 11 fours and a six in his innings of 104 before retiring out in the 76th over.
“It was good to be able to spend some time out in the middle,” said Marsh. “Everyone got a bit out of it today, which was great. Hopefully, we can continue that over the next couple of days and make sure we’re ready to go next week.
Navdeep Saini on David Warner’s dismissal:
“To get Warner out on the bouncer was very special for me. In the previous over, he pulled Ashok Dinda for a boundary, so having a high-arm action, I thought if I try to hit that same length he will still go for the shot, and he did try to go after that but was dismissed.”
“It was a pretty good wicket, pretty true with the quicks. It started to take a little bit of spin towards the end. It nibbled a bit early, it was a bit damp. But as the day went on, it was quite nice to bat.
“It’s [India] a place where I have always enjoyed coming and playing. I always find it a really good challenge. India are playing really good cricket at the moment, got some world-class bowlers. It’s going to be a really good challenge for our batters, we’re looking forward to it.”
Coming in at No. 5, Peter Handscomb spent close to 90 minutes out in the middle, scoring 45 runs from 70 deliveries and was finally dismissed by Hardik Pandya (1 for 64), the India A captain, in the 81st over.
Not as threatening as India’s spin aces R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, the Australians managed to score at a quick rate against Shahbaz Nadeem (0 for 90 in 23 overs) and Akhil Herwadkar (0 for 48 in 11 overs) to get ample practice against spin ahead of their four-match Test series against India.
At close of play, Mitchell Marsh, the allrounder, and Matthew Wade, the wicketkeeper-batsman, remained unbeaten on 16 and seven respectively.