Indians 358 (Shaw 66, Kohli 64, Hardie 4-50) and 2 for 211 (Vijay 129, Rahul 62) drew with Cricket Australia XI 544 (Nielsen 100, Hardie 86)
A solid top-order show from Murali Vijay and KL Rahul headlined the final day of the drawn encounter between India and Cricket Australia XI. Vijay demolished an inexperienced host bowling attack as he made a 132-ball 129 laden with 16 fours and five sixes, while Rahul hit form with a 98-ball 62, following a string of low scores.
Australia batsmen made the Indian bowlers toil at the start of the day, as they amassed 544 from 151.1 overs, after beginning the day 6 for 356. Harry Nielsen, who added 44 runs to his overnight score to bring up 100, was dismissed by Virat Kohli in the 21st over of the day. Aaron Hardie's 86, and three 30-plus contributions from the tail, helped the hosts take a 186-run lead.
In reply, Rahul reached his half-century shortly after tea in the 25th over, while Vijay was batting on 33. There was a short break in play in the 30th over, when a grimacing Vijay sought medical attention to his right thumb, and he resumed playing with a bandage on the finger. In the very next over, D'Arcy Short got the much-needed breakthrough as he dismissed Rahul for 62.
Overcoming the pain in his thumb, Vijay set off to entertain the sizeable crowd at the SCG once he crossed 50. He destroyed the young Western Australian offspinner Jake Carder for 26 runs in an over, including three fours and two sixes, to move from 74 to 100. He smashed three more fours and two sixes before falling to Daniel Fallins in the 44th over, following which the teams shook hands with 15 minutes left to play.
Vijay had been recalled for the Australia tour after losing his place due to poor form in the last two away Tests against England earlier this year. He impressed in a county stint with Essex and his first-class form was enough to get him picked for the Tests. Speaking about his comeback after the match, Vijay said his focus, even when he was out of the team, was on making sure he was always ready for the top level.
"You've got to find ways to be in that positive frame of mind, where even if you're not part of the team, you've still got to make sure you keep your work ethics to the top level, and once you get a chance, you should be ready to go," he said. "That's my basic funda. Once you play international (cricket), you've got to handle responsibility well. Whether it is four years or your first year, it's about taking the responsibility and doing it for your team. Age doesn't matter here."