Gurinder Sandhu swept up the India A tail before Australia A cantered home by 10 wickets on the final day of the second four-day game to take the series 1-0.
Entering the fourth dayat the M.A. Chidambaram stadium at 267 for six, India had a narrow lead of 53 runs. To glean any semblance of respectability would require significant lower order partnerships, but the tailenders offered little.
Only 7 runs were added on the fourth morning as Gurinder Sandhu snaffled three quick wickets and Steve O’Keefe captured 4-88 with his left-arm spin, adding the final wicket of Shardul Thakur to the three wickets he’d taken on the third day.
Seamer Gurinder Sandhu showed his versatility by starting the first over with off-spin and struck immediately. Shreyas Gopal departed for a duck to a sharp catch from Bancroft close in, which triggered a collapse in the tail.
India A lost 4 wickets for 7 runs, with Sandhu picking up another two wickets to bring his match figures to 7 for 101.
“If the conditions are helping a bit or if there is a big partnership or if the captain wants to try something different, which may bring up a wicket, then I’m happy to put my hand up and say ‘yeah, I’ll give you an over or two [of off-spin],” Sandhu said after the match. “But I’m definitely going to keep bowling pace and that’s my main focus.
“I’ve only tried off-spin for about an over in a Sheffield Shielf game, so I can’t tell you much,” he added. “The skipper has some faith in me and obviously the conditions were more suitable for spin, but hopefully this season if we’ve only got one spinner in Steve O’Keefe, then I’m happy to give the captain a few overs.
“I don’t think it helps with selection for the full Australian team as I think they’ll pick me if I’m bowling well with my pace,” he continued, “not with spin. That’s a second string to the bow.”
With only 61 required for victory the Australians were in a hurry and cantered to victory. Cameron Bancroft added an unbeaten 21 from 14 balls to his first innings century, hitting the winning runs with a straight six. Captain, Usman Khawaja, remained unbeaten on 41 from only 23 balls. The opening pair walked off with victory in the bag and had used only 6.2 overs to complete the task.
“You can never get too far ahead of yourself,” admitted Khawaja later. “Obviously I was really hopeful and Bancroft caught a really good catch for our first wicket today, which got us going, and I know the wicket was turning and it was tough work yesterday and I felt we would get our wickets with spin.
“Fortunately it worked out that we got the wickets quickly as I’ve played a lot of games where the last four wickets have taken a long time to get, so I’m really glad that we got out of the heat quickly and obviously when we chased the runs we did it quickly and got it over and done with. It’s the best way to chase low totals I reckon.”
AUDIO: USMAN KHAWAJA and GURINDER SANDHU
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