Australians stumble against spin on opening day
Australians 241 (Cowan 58, Rasool 7-45) v Indian Board President's XI
The Australians lost nine wickets to spin on the first day of their opening tour game in Chennai, but though they were dismissed for 241 their opener and top-scorer Ed Cowan said the team was satisfied with the workout. Jammu & Kashmir offspinner Parvez Rasool, who turns 24 tomorrow, took 7 for 45 for the Board President's XI on a pitch that offered the slow bowlers assistance.
Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, the Australians' acting captain, had spoken about the importance of batting long in order to adapt to the local conditions, and everyone got the chance to have time in the middle after he won the toss.
Only 11 of the 17-member squad had arrived in India and so Usman Khawaja opened with Cowan, adding 77 for the first wicket before he was caught behind off legspinner Sarabjit Ladda. Cowan was the next to fall, caught behind to become the first of Rasool's seven wickets. Wade and Steven Smith added 58 for the third wicket but Wade's dismissal triggered a slide during which the Australians lost eight wickets for 74 runs.
"It was a pretty good day. Everyone had a good hit at the top of the order," Cowan said after the day's play. "The wicket was turning, so it was good practice against some really talented spin bowlers. The wicket was a bit two-paced. The ball reversed pretty quickly. So it was hard to score but it is a small ground, so a decent score for a first hit out.
"It's easy to call it a practice game, but it is more than that for a lot of us - to come over early, to get the conditions, to get our plans in place against the spinners. It was nice to spend some time in the middle but at the end of the day it's about scoring some runs, so it was nice to get a few runs as well."