Gutsy Marsh steadies Australia 'A'

Mitchell Marsh of Australia 'A' plays a shot during his unbeaten 86 against India 'A' at the Alur ground in Bengaluru on Saturday. DH Photo

Skipper Mitchell Marsh's fine unbeaten 86 took Australia 'A' to 290 for six on the opening day of the second four-day game against India 'A' here at the Alur ground on Saturday.

Marsh decided to bat first but the visitors were in trouble at 180 for six before the all-rounder added 110 runs with Michael Neser (44 batting) for the unbroken seventh-wicket stand.

Marsh consumed 151 balls, hitting 13 boundaries while Neser played 108 balls, hitting six fours in the process.

Before the middle-order collapse, Australia 'A' had another vital partnership when Travis Head (68) and opener Kurtis Patterson (48) added 92 runs for the second wicket.

For the hosts, the spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav (2/68) and left-arm orthodox Shahbaz Nadeem (2/64) accounted for four wickets.

Off-spinning all-rounder Krishnappa Gowtham (1/60) and right-arm pacer Rajneesh Gurbani (1/50) also chipped in with a wicket each.

It wasn't a great start for Australia 'A' as they lost opener Matt Renshaw for a duck. The opener, who made his way into the side after recovering from a hamstring injury, was cleaned up by Gurbani.

However Patterson and Head steadied the ship with some sensible batting.

Patterson played in an attacking manner, hitting eight boundaries, while Head mixed caution with aggression. The duo kept the scoreboard ticking before Nadeem dismissed Patterson.

Head's 68 was decorated with 10 boundaries before he was stumped by Kona Bharat off Kuldeep's bowling.

Australia 'A' then suffered a slump, losing three quick wickets. Nadeem and Kuldeep dismissed Peter Handscomb (8), Head and Marnus Labuschagne (0), leaving the visiting side tottering at 140 for five.

Gowtham sent back Ashton Agar (23), leaving Australia 'A' 180 for six before Marsh and Neser staged the recovery act.

Opener Usman Khawaja and spinner Jon Holland, who were star performers in the visitors' 98-run victory over India 'A' in the first match, were rested to give Agar, Renshaw and leggie Mitchell Swepson a chance.

Wicketkeeper Alex Carey has flown home for the birth of his first child, with Handscomb taking the gloves for this match.

Brief scores: Australia 'A': 290/6 (Mitchell Marsh 86 batting, Travis Head 68; Shahbaz Nadeem 2-64, Kuldeep 2-68) vs India 'A'.

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Gutsy Marsh steadies Australia 'A'

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