India A struggle in the Top End
India A 7 for 221 (Badrinath 59, Uthappa 50) trail Australia A 4 for 461 dec (Jaques 240, Birt 130, Rogers 55) by 240 runs
Australia A's grip over India A tightened as the visitors finished the second day at Cairns 240 behind on first innings with only three wickets remaining. After Phil Jaques had brought up his double-century and Travis Birt stroked a confident 130, Australia A declared at lunch and effectively dismantled the opposition's big guns to have India A 7 for 221 at stumps.
The allrounder Shane Watson and his Queensland team-mate Mitchell Johnson were mainly responsible for the top-order inroads. Johnson earned the first of his two wickets when the Test batsman Gautam Gambhir found Brett Dorey at fine-leg and he returned to collect Venugopal Rao, leaving India A in difficulty at 4 for 115.
Robin Uthappa, the opener, began with a quick half-century, but he fell to a sharp return catch from Watson, who had already taken care of Tejinder Pal Singh. Brad Haddin dived to collect Rohit Sharma's edge from Watson (3 for 39) before Subramaniam Badrinath stabilised India A's position with a 59 that included five fours and a six over long off from Dan Cullen. However, Badrinath's resistance was shut down late in the day by Shaun Tait and he followed up with the first-ball dismissal of Piyush Chawla.
The start of the second morning was delayed when one of the scoreboards fell over and play was stopped again in the first session when the screen toppled for a second time. Jaques, who reached his 200 with a single from the day's third ball, and Birt were not affected by the breaks as they combined for a superb stand of 279. Birt departed to a run out attempting a second and Jaques narrowly missed passing his career-best 244 for Worcestershire against Essex last month when he botched a reverse sweep to Rao.
Another minor interruption occurred shorlty after 4pm when the ground's automatic sprinklers burst on. The water was quickly stopped and there was no danger of the match joining the cross-town fixture involving New Zealand A and Pakistan A as a washout.