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Agar, Lynn seal final berth with three-wicket win

Australia A 262 for 7 (Lynn 63, Zampa 54, Karn 3-45) beat India A 258 for 9 (Agarwal 61, Pandey 50, Agar 5-39) by three wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A maiden List A five-wicket haul from Ashton Agar formed the base for Australia A's three-wicket win over India A, their third successive win in the tournament. The win sealed their spot in the A-team tri-series final.

That the margin was so narrow was because the hosts' spinners created a little panic in the Australia A middle order. Karn Sharma bowled 10 probing overs for 45 runs and three vital wickets, while Axar Patel and Karun Nair provided brilliant back-up.

The trick was in bowling slow, tossing the ball up and letting a slow, dry and worn pitch do the dirty work. Australia A lost four middle-order wickets for 25 runs, including that of Chris Lynn for 63, and their chase seemed to have gone off the rails.

But Adam Zampa, who got the better of the India A with the ball earlier in the series, showed some spunk with the bat. He contributed 54 to a seventh-wicket partnership of 80 runs with Callum Ferguson to ensure victory.

The Australia A bowlers conceded their biggest total in the tri-series so far, yet their target was only 259. The quicks have managed to hold their lines well, and the spinners have been conscious about bowling slow, and have actually tried to turn the ball. They brought three frontline spinners on tour - Cameron Boyce helped turn the tri-series opener with 2 for 34, Zampa, a legspinner, took 4 for 49 on Friday. Today Agar coasted to 5 for 39, and it was shock impact - three wickets in 24 balls when the game had been with India A.

Mayank Agarwal had collected his second fifty-plus score in as many days. He sent the first ball of the day packing to the fine-leg boundary. He had four boundaries by the end of 10 overs and was responsible for India A's acceleration after captain Unmukt Chand fell early and Manish Pandey retired hurt after cutting his chin during a collision with Australia A wicketkeeper Matthew Wade. Agarwal had added 60 runs in 63 balls with Karun Nair, and had reached his half-century with a six and a four against Gurinder Sandhu in the 15th over.

Then Agar came on in the 19th over and changed the game. A loopy delivery pitched around the leg stump, squared Agarwal up, ripped across his poke and clipped the off stump, and the bewildered batsman walked back for 61. The follow-up was a full toss that Kedar Jadhav tamely bunted to short midwicket. Sanju Samson and Axar Patel played ill-advised sweep shots and offered a couple more dollies. Agar bagged his fifth and India A had slumped from 98 for 1 to 161 for 6.

Pandey, who had walked out again in the 33rd over, cruised to a half-century off 36 balls. India A squeezed out 72 runs in the final 10 overs to put up a competitive score.

Australia A, however, whisked back the lost momentum as Travis Head, opening in place of the rested Joe Burns, cracked 45 off 43 balls. They cruised to a fifty off only 32 balls and that allowed Lynn the time he needed to get settled. A similarly aggressive innings from Zampa - his second List A fifty included seven fours and a six - helped Ferguson hold firm at the other end. Ferguson ended up unbeaten with 45 off 63 balls and hit the winning boundary.