Suresh Raina may be having second thoughts not about playing the first eleven Indian side but of the decision he made as skipper of the India A which could perhaps cost his team victory.
The much anticipated final was finally underway at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai with Australia A batting first as Raina’ behest. India A won the dress rehearsal that was the final league match two days ago chasing down another seemingly daunting total. But the final was a different ball game altogether.
Like some members of the Australian side expectant of making the main line Australian squad in the forthcoming future, India A’ s originally appointed skipper, Subramaniam Badrinath, is involved in the Irani Trophy match in Vadodara leaving Raina with the reigns. Raina may well be rethinking his decision when the final match of the Tri Nation A series ends later in the day.
Australia A have had little to show on tour after drawing the three day games with India. Their victory against India A was not particularly encouraging either ahead of the final. But the final was a winner-takes-all scenario and Australia A put their best foot forward. It meant four half centuries that set ablaze Australia A’s innings and gave India A a real challenge to deserve the final victory.
Luke Ronchi opened with Phillip Huges but it was the former who set the pace for Australia A. A quick fire half century that involved seven fours and two sixes off just forty-one balls lay the platform for more blitzkrieg to follow. David Hussey, clearly the outstanding batsmen for Australia A in this series, followed forth in characteristic vein. Cameron White joined in the fun and the fireworks were rendering a few heart stopping moments for the India A side reeling under the onslaught. Neither Irfan Pathan was spared nor Praveen Kumar. The Pathan brothers were in action but neither would hold figures that meant the opposition was undone. White picked up a half century as well in a ninety-four run partnership with Hussey. Sixes rained almost as freely as boundary shots and it was only fitting that Hussey was the top scorer of the innings on seventy-five.
But Hussey’s dismissal in the thirty-ninth over failed to dampen Australian spirits. From 213 for five, Australia A blazed their way to 303 riding on the back of another cracking half century, this time from Adam Voges who scored at more than a run a ball. India A failed to find their respite they were looking and in a more desperate scenario, looking at a formidable target to surpass to prevail over the visitors. The breakthroughs provided only temporary relief.
All that mattered now was that India A go out to bat with the same confidence they did against the same opponents two days ago and emulate a similar result but for a much bigger prize!
For more on the India A series and the star performers on and off the field read: