Tait and Ronchi star in emphatic victory
Australia A 168 for 1 (Ronchi 108*) beat India A 207 (Yusuf 54, Noffke 4-39, Tait 3-27) by 86 runs (D/L method)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
It was a dramatic reversal of fortune for Australia A and Shaun Tait as both bounced back from forgettable displays on Monday to crush India A. Luke Ronchi showed up India's wafer-thin bowling resources with a whirlwind century, and was toying with the spinners before the rains came down to end India's misery. The hosts were completely outplayed as their batting lacked conviction, their fielding was ragged, and the bowling unthreatening.
Tait showed glimpses of his fiery best, shrugging off Monday's troubles in maintaining his line, as he wrecked the top order. Three of the brightest talents of India's next generation accumulated just three runs between them before being snared by Tait. Robin Uthappa was the first to go, trapped in front of middle by a full, fast ball. Suresh Raina was next - an inswinging yorker at pace flattened his offstump. Captain S Badrinath's attempted drive ended up in the hands of the wicketkeeper Ronchi and by the end of Tait's spell India were tottering at 26 for 3.
The stiflingly accurate Ashley Noffke ensured the procession continued: he first got through Rohit Sharma's defences with a ball that kept low, then castled another player with international experience, Dinesh Karthik, cheaply. Karthik's shot selection caused his downfall on several occasions during the recent Test tour to Sri Lanka and it let him down again. An across-the-line flick to a ball on off only resulted in his stumps being uprooted.
It was left to two allrounders who sparkled during the Indian Premier League, Yusuf Pathan and Abhishek Nayar, to stem the collapse with a battling partnership. Yusuf did the bulk of the scoring but, barring a few drives, there wasn't much finesse from him as he dealt with the spinners with a mix of sweeps, even from outside off, and heaves down the ground. Nayar was initially content with the singles but just as he started to step on the accelerator, Noffke had him feathering an edge to the keeper.
Yusuf had just moved past his fifty before Cameron White struck twice in an over. A plucky last-wicket stand of 47 between Praveen Kumar and Dhawal Kulkarni took India's score past 200.
The pair was not as convincing when the two men shared the new ball, rarely threatening Australia's openers. Phillip Hughes provided the momentum early on as he showed his penchant for the cut shot and the dab towards third man. Ronchi took charge in the seventh over as Kulkarni was dispatched for a couple of boundaries. The runs continued to flow when Nayar was brought on as his overpitched deliveries provided easy pickings.
Next to face Ronchi's wrath was the legspinner Piyush Chawla as 14 came off three balls, all shots in the 'V' to full deliveries. Playing with a straight bat to the spinners remained a feature of Ronchi's batting right through his innings.
There was a slight hiccup when Hughes' sweep ballooned to Kulkarni at mid-on with the score on 129 but Ronchi didn't let the initiative slip. He motored along to his third List A century, off 71 balls, before rain stopped play with 40 needed off 23 overs.
Australia were declared victors by the VJD method. India will be hoping to emulate Australia's stunning turnaround in tomorrow's game against New Zealand, something that will be made easier if Irfan Pathan and Sreesanth are declared fit.