Australians 505 for 8 dec. (Watson 115, Katich 104 retd*, North 124 retd*) and 187 for 6 dec. (Watson 104*, Chawla 3-64) drew with Board President's XI 177 (Chawla 82, Hilfenhaus 5-47) and 174 for 0 (Rahane 113*, Pujara 52*)
The Australians like to mentally disintegrate the visiting captains, while the Indians - lesser known domestic batsmen, that is - go after visiting spinners. For the third season in a row now, the Board President's XI batsmen have done the job of softening up the opposition's spinners ahead of a Test series.
Two years ago, when Australia visited India, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Yuvraj Singh took Jason Krejza's 31 wicketless overs for 199 runs. Last season South Africa's Paul Harris was unsuccessful as Manish Pandey and Abhishek Nayar hit him for 71 runs in 12 overs. Over the last three days, which have been almost ideal preparation for Australia for the upcoming two-Test series, Nathan Hauritz has emerged as a concern.
In the first innings, Piyush Chawla, known more for his legspin, repeatedly danced down the pitch and either pushed him for singles or lofted him over his head. In the second, Ajinkya Rahane, the Mumbai batsman, scored a stroke-filled century in two hours. Hauritz's figures over the two innings: 24 overs, 93 runs, and one wicket. Steven Smith's flat legbreaks at the other end extracted even less respect. Chawla hit him for a six in his first over in India, and he went for 55 in his 10 overs.
Before Rahane entertained the small crowd at the Sector 16 Stadium, though, the Australians had had another good day of practice. They took the remaining four BP XI wickets for 34 runs, and Shane Watson went onto score a second century in the match, hitting 18 boundaries in his unbeaten 104 off 121 deliveries.
Gautam Gambhir, Simon Katich and Marcus North chose to go easy on mild injury scares. Gambhir, who was hit in his right hand by a rising delivery from Ben Hilfenhaus on day 2, chose to stay away from action. Katich, who has a bruised thumb, opted out of batting but came on to field. North, who has a mild back strain, stayed away too.
The match was always going to be a draw when the Australians gave BP XI just a session to bat. Rahane's strokeplay, however, made sure it was an entertaining draw. His hook off Peter George, which went for six, and punches through the covers stood out.
While it could be argued that this session was just low-key practice, and not much should be read into it, Hauritz would have desperately wanted to improve on his first-innings effort.