The Indian team had a field day against Australia A on Saturday – day 2 of the pink-ball practice match. India finished the day on 386/4, with a lead of 472 runs and dominated Australia A with Hanuma Vihari and Rishabh Pant scoring centuries and providing a case for their selection in India’s Playing XI for the first Test against Australia starting Thursday.
But while the batting display injected plenty of confidence in India’s players, Australia A’s shoddy performance left Allan Border miffed. Border, a former Australia captain was pretty upset seeing Australia A bowl, calling the performance a disgrace.
“One of the worst, lethargic performances I have seen in the last session of any cricket,” Border said on Fox Cricket ahead of play on day three.
“This is Australia A, they are representing Australia, they are young blokes trying to make their way. That fielding performance, bowling performance, captaincy performance – an absolute disgrace. Not up to scratch at all. I’m happy for any of those guys to come talk to me about what was going on yesterday afternoon and stand corrected but very ordinary stuff.”
After getting bowled out for 194 in the first innings, the Indians seem to have done a bit of soul searching before coming out to bat in the second innings. After bowling Australia A out for 108, half-centuries from Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill got the innings going, before Vihari and Pant pummelled the attack with a brutal, unbeaten 147-run stand. Border in particular was unimpressed looking at the body language of Australia A and felt the players could have done better.
“You can handle getting beaten and we’ve put in some poor performances, I’ve been a part of quite a few, but I don’t think you have ever accused Australian sides of not having a go. You can get beaten fair and square and have a tough day at the office, that happens, but it’s just your attitude, I’m not blaming them all but it was just in general,” he said.
“8:30 last night, if I am the coach of that team, I would have been sending out some pretty terse messages about lifting your expletive game because otherwise you’re out of there and I’ll get the under 16s from the Mossman cricket club to come and do a better job. Just not good enough boys I’m afraid, I don’t often have a crack but after last night you deserve it.”
While Vihari played a compact innings, Pant’s knock was brutal. He reached his century off just 73 balls, hammering the final over of the day for 22 runs to get to the three-figure score before the Indians declared. Pant was harsh on leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson in particular, who got taken for 148 runs in his 28 overs.
“He (Swepson) just got butchered, as simple as that. I can’t pick him from what I saw yesterday. I’m not saying he didn’t try, he had a bit of a go but the Indians had no trouble whatsoever and he got absolutely belted,” Border explained.
“If Alex Carey is in line to be an Australian captain, he has got a lot of work to do for me. He has gone down quite a few pegs. He is a good cricketer Alex Carey, he has got a bit of energy himself, but yesterday he should have reacted to the way the general feel around the team was.”