CA Chairman's XI v Indians, Canberra, 1st day December 15, 2011

Ishant the focus on tough first day for bowlers


Chairman's XI 6 for 398 (Cooper 182*, Robinson 143, Yadav 3-39) v Indians

Stiffness, jet-lag, an ankle in need of re-strapping, or just micro-management on the part of Duncan Fletcher? Theories abounded as to the reason for Ishant Sharma bowling only 5.3 overs on the first day of India's opening tour match against a Cricket Australia Chairman's XI in Canberra, the most notable episode in a forgettable start for the tourists.

An uncertain 2 for 45 after being sent in to bat by the acting Indian captain Rahul Dravid, the local XI ultimately reached a bountiful 6 for 398, led by dashing centuries from Wes Robinson and Tom Cooper. Umesh Yadav was the most incisive of the visiting bowlers, striking once in the first session and twice at the end in gathering gloom. They were watched by the CA chairman Wally Edwards, while the Prime Minister Julia Gillard's partner Tim Mathieson was also in attendance to observe Ishant's enigmatic introduction to the summer of 2011-12.

Taking the new ball on a sleepy surface at Manuka Oval, Ishant went off the field twice in the space of his brief spell, and after his second exit midway through his sixth over, did not return. An Indian team official explained that Ishant had only planned to deliver six overs for the day, and when his ankle strapping came loose before it was concluded, he felt no need to return. Ishant was seen on the field later, but only to help run the drinks.

As a tall fast bowler still recovering from the duration of the flight to Australia plus a four-hour bus trip into Canberra, Ishant was understandably below his best, and will take time to find his rhythm over the course of the week. There is sound reasoning for India to monitor Ishant's left ankle carefully, given the debate about whether or not he required ankle surgery to repair ligament damage he sustained in the third Test against England at Edgbaston in August.

In Ishant's absence the rest toiled without much success against studious batting by the West Australian Robinson and the more attractive strokes of South Australia's Cooper. Robinson showed more flair the further his innings went on, following Cooper's example and ultimately blooming in a stand of 226. Pragyan Ojha and Vinay Kumar were on the receiving end of the most aggressive strokes, though no member of the bowling attack shone too brightly against batsmen largely considered surplus to the requirements of the imminent Big Bash League.

Yadav enjoyed early success when he had the Chairman's XI captain Ryan Broad edging behind to Wriddhiman Saha, and Ojha's subtle variations of pace and flight proved too much for Joe Burns, bowled on the back foot by a flatter delivery. But the afternoon session passed without another wicket, as Robinson and Cooper built momentum against an attack that called on eight bowlers.

A solid 2 for 186 at the tea interval, Robinson and Cooper accelerated with vigour on resumption, swatting boundaries to all parts. Ojha was subjected to particularly heavy punishment to return 2 for 149 from 25.3 overs. Robinson swung Ojha to the leg-side boundary no fewer than five times before he perished in the attempt to add a sixth.

Alex Doolan provided unobtrusive company as Cooper reached his century, but both he and Glenn Maxwell were beaten on the crease by Yadav in light that became increasingly murky. Dean Solway, a Canberra product, edged Vinay behind shortly before the close.

Cooper's display was both pleasant and authoritative, demonstrating why he is now being watched by the national selectors as a possible contender for the Australian side.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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  • Sai on December 17, 2011, 1:38 GMT

    Why should Rohit be given a chance ahead of Virat Kohli? Just compare the averages and strike rates in ODIs between the two: Kohli is 45-odd and Rohit is 34.81. Kohli's SR is 83 and Rohit's is 79. Kohli has played 3 tests and scored two half-centuries in 1 test in the recently concluded Ind v WI Test. Rohit is definitely a talent, but that doesn't mean that he can just jump into the ODI team.

  • Srinivas on December 16, 2011, 13:55 GMT

    If India goes in with 6 batsmen, Rohit it is for me. There is no place for favouritisms here. We are already crippled in the bowling department and we don't want Dhoni to cripple the batting department by doing favours to Kohli. Enough of this Indian Cricket Naatak. For all thos who were thinking India didn't bowl full throttle just because it's a practice game, then why did our batsmen go full throttle? Shouldn't they also go half throttle so that the Aussies don't get a measure of our team as a whole? Simple, there is something seriously wrong with Ishant there. And probably Zaheer too. It is also possible that Ishant backed off once he saw that the surface is not a dodgy grassbowl for cows coz it makes no sense to bend your back unnecessarily on a batting paradise for a tour game. If that's the case, I'm more than happy with the situation. But you never know from this far ( O_O )!

  • Naresh on December 16, 2011, 11:23 GMT

    @binojpeter - Yes TP Sudhindra might one day play for India. The guy is 27 yrs - it seems he started around about 22 yrs playing cricket. I have seen his picture in his batting stance - looks fairly well built. From yesterday he has taken another two wickets today - the game should still be in progress. A total of 10 wickets in a game. Maybe if his team rises further he could get noticed by a selector. Still early days though. What amazes me is that there is bowling talent in India but we seem to discard some bowlers of the calibre of Sreesanth and Nehra. Sreesanth has the talent but needs a bit of mentoring

  • Dummy4 on December 16, 2011, 11:06 GMT

    @Sameen Tahir. LOL @your comment. Sachin and Laxman both retired because they wanted to give chance to Virat and Rohit to bat and practice on the pitch. All in all, good batting display-320/4 (NOT 6 because 2 retired). I'm sure when Sehwag gets into the groove,the opening pair will give a flying start. Bring it on! :) Cricinfo please publish.

  • gaurav on December 16, 2011, 9:53 GMT

    @Ahsan_Shere- laxman played most of his career at no6 because sourav used to play at no5 and india didn't had player like dhoni at no7 so he used to end up to play with bowlers.therfore could not score as many runs and also the fact that he has especial career against aus. makes him one of the greats of indian cricket.

  • zia on December 16, 2011, 7:50 GMT

    After first warm up match I feel it is going to be a tough series for both sides. I have storng feeling that Australians will come out in first test with pattinson and siddle bounces where Indian batting line up lacks. Irfan pathan should not ignore by the selectors!!! well best regards for both teams.

  • Dummy4 on December 16, 2011, 7:22 GMT

    rohit should be in the 1st test.....he plays the short ball well....has been consistent before his injury and now in the WI series....has done well here too

  • Ahsan on December 16, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    Can anyone please tell me why Laxman believes to be in the same slab with Tendulkar & Dravid. One will find it difficult to recall a batsman with 130 matches under his belt & haven't scored even 9000. Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardena, Ponting, Jaques Kallis, even Mike Hussey, Alistair Cook, Younis Khan, Chanderpaul, Sehwag, Kevin Pietersen etc all are better bat than him & most of them behind Dravid & all of them behind Tendulkar!

  • Andrew on December 16, 2011, 6:49 GMT

    @dicky_boy the down side is of course that India have never won a series in Australia in the entire history of Test cricket - and this was during the era of the best Indian team ever. People keep talking about how well India have done in against Australia in the last 20 years. There is truth to that, but up the retire ment of Australia's stars, they weren't even close to Australia in dominance.

  • Dummy4 on December 16, 2011, 6:42 GMT

    Fully endorse 'Johny-129" &'Ahmad Abbas Khan's views-Irfan Khan should've been the bleeding, obvious choice ahead of Mithun or Vinay Kumar.Irfan is an awesomely gifted cricketer who has been terribly handled by our cricket establishment.Somehow he has fallen foul of Dhoni ,the selectors and even the press .It's a mystery to me that no journalist or cricket writer has taken up the cudgels on Irfan's behalf re the injustice meted out to him ,yet ,thankfully, he has got a huge fan base in India going by the respose of the general public in 'cricinfo'. Something happened in the 2009 T20 World Cup game against WI in England-Irfan bowled 2 overs for just 9 runs and was never used again in that game or ever since after that for India. I strongly exhort the selectors to come clean about why they have kept on ignoring a supremely talented cricketer like Irfan to the extent that now his confidence in himself as a batsman is shattered,yet he scored a century, 90,76 vs top Auss,Pak attacks

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