Close Queensland Academy of Sport 304 for 6 dec (Carseldine 112, Philipson 85) and 77 for 2 (Carseldine 31*) lead Indians 208 for 9 dec (Laxman 74, Dravid 38, Dawes 3-36) by 175 runs
Despite a classy 74 from VVS Laxman, the Indians fared just as poorly on the second day of their game against the Queensland Academy of Sport as they did on the first, conceding a lead of 175 runs by the close at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane.
Reeling overnight at 17 for 3, the Indians needed some imaginative but temperamentally sound batting to see them through the second day. Laxman and Rahul Dravid provided that only in part, and their stand of 77 was a significant part of their side's final total of 208 for 9 declared.
Laxman played exactly the type of innings India is likely to need frequently on this tour - responsible, yet not pointlessly defensive. His partnership with Dravid (38) was a crucial one, rescuing India from 26 for 4, when Sourav Ganguly (6) fell early in the day, caught behind fishing for a Joe Dawes delivery outside off stump. Both jettisoned the strokes in favour of watching the ball closely and defending all that was defendable; a few four-balls may have gone begging, but the approach started a slow recovery for India. The really bad deliveries were dispatched, though, and both batsmen brought off some glorious cover-drives.
But after lunch, Dravid lost his composure, and he fell in the 48th over, pushing Dawes tamely to Ryan Le Loux at short midwicket (103 for 5). Laxman opened out after that and, on reaching 50, slammed a four and a six off Chris Simpson. In the next over, he drove and cut Scott Brant for two more fours, but after he tapped Simpson to long-on for yet another four, he got carried away. Moving back onto his stumps, Laxman tried to cut a ball too close and too low for the stroke and was bowled (145 for 6).
He left behind his mood, though, so Parthiv Patel and Sadagoppan Ramesh behaved most unlike a side with only four tailend wickets remaining and not too many on the board. Ramesh played particularly well, creaming successive fours off Brant, and then, in the next over, Patel first cut Simpson to backward point for four, then pulled him to the midwicket boundary for four more.
They dealt so exclusively in boundaries, however, that when it came to running between the wickets, they proved rusty, and it cost them dearly. Ramesh pushed Steve Magoffin into the covers and ran on the misfield, only to reach the non-striker's end and find Patel resting comfortably on his bat. Ramesh was run out by miles, a needless wicket just on the stroke of tea.
Some entertaining batting and quick runs seemed the Indians' only hope to stave off embarrassment. Ajit Agarkar slammed a four and a six off Le Loux, but three overs later, Magoffin had Patel (19) fending a short ball off to the point fielder (192 for 8). Agarkar (18) himself was dismissed soon after, driving at Magoffin and sending a thick edge to third slip (203 for 9). Only five more runs were added before Ganguly decided that Irfan Pathan's wild batting and Anil Kumble's dour defence were not going to help India too much more.
The Indians did get two wickets during the Queensland Academy's second innings, but given the pace of the game thus far, they seemed mere consolation prizes. Pathan got Simpson driving and missing early on, striking him on the pads and having him lbw (6 for 1). Then came a partnership of 67 between Carseldine and Daniel Payne, 18.1 overs of fluid, unhurried batting that ended just before stumps, when Virender Sehwag had Payne lbw playing forward to a ball that kept low (73 for 2).
Aside from Laxman's obvious form, and with just one more day of cricket before the first Test, almost no positives emerged for India. To make matters worse, the negatives on display - batting and bowling departments that an Academy side are finding easy meat - will be difficult to rectify before they come up against the Australian national side.