The 2-day warm-up match between Cricket Australia Chairman's XI and India ended in an obvious draw at the Manuka Oval in Canberra. This is the first of two matches that the touring Indians get ahead of the Boxing Day Test Match at Melbourne. Well the good news for India is that ace batsman SachinTendulkar found some early form on the tour as he came up with a knock of 92 with 15 fours in 132 balls before retiring from his innings. There were also half centuries coming in from VVSLaxman (who retired after his 57 from 76 balls with 9 fours) and Rohit Sharma (56* from 80 balls with 8 fours and a six).
India infact closed the game at a good looking 320 for 6 in 83.1 overs in reply to the Australian side's 398 for 6 declared. The Chairman's XI team had pounded the Indian bowling attack on the first day's play as they got almost 400 runs in just 86 overs! There was a bright note in the Indian bowling with fast bowler UmeshYadav claiming respectable figures of 3 for 39 in 15 overs. For the Australian side, opener Wes Robinson with 143 (from 215 balls with 13 fours and 6 sixes) and Tom Cooper with 182 (from 194 balls with 24 fours and 3 sixes) made a feast of the Indian bowling attack. There was a question mark on the Indian team's preparations on this tour as fast bowler Ishant Sharma bowled only 5.3 overs in the entire first day's play. There are enough hints that Ishant Sharma could be suffering from an ankle strain!
The visitors went into this 2-day match without the likes of Skipper MS Dhoni, VirenderSehwag and Zaheer Khan. RahulDravid was the stand-in captain for the tourists with the regular skipper MS Dhoni cooling his heels for this two-day match. India play the same opponents in a 3-day match starting on the 19th which is also at this same venue in Manuka.
- BV Swagath