Spinners star as India A win again
India A 6 for 216 (Venugopal Rao 55) beat Australia A 213 (Haddin 56, Hodge 56) by 4 wickets
Led by their spinners, India A recorded their second win of the Top End Series, easing past Australia A in a low-scoring match at Darwin. Tejinder Pal Singh, Piyush Chawla and Ravi Jadeja combined superbly to restrict the Australians to just 213, and though the Indians stuttered in pursuit, Venugopal Rao, the captain, steadied the nerves scoring 55 off 81 balls as India eased home with four wickets and eight balls to spare.
Australia A got off to a reasonable start after winning the toss, putting on 45 for the first wicket, but they were soon on the back foot as the Indian spinners got to work. Tejinder Pal, a part-time left-arm spinner with only 23 wickets in domestic one-day matches, got rid of Brad Haddin and Brad Hodge, the top-scorers for Australia A with 56 apiece. Shane Watson tried to inject some momentum into the innings with a 50-ball 40, but the rest of the middle and lower order fell away as Chawla, the 17-year-old legspinner, and Jadeja, another left-arm spinner, took two wickets each and kept the runs in check.
Gautam Gambhir got the run-chase off to a fine start with a quick 41, but the Australians struck at regular intervals to stay in the game. With the game in the balance, Rao played a fine hand, hitting six fours in his knock. When he left, India A still required 63 off 14.2 overs, but the rest of the batsmen all chipped in with useful knocks - Tejinder Pal and Reetinder Singh Sodhi both made 20s, while Parthiv Patel, the former Indian wicketkeeper, hastened the end with an unbeaten 19 off just 20 balls.