Pucovski hurt, Burns fails again in draw
Australia A's bowlers almost conjured a miraculous victory over India on the final day of their tour match at Drummoyne Oval, but it wasn't the result that had people talking on Tuesday.
On a day that started with Cameron Green batting on to make 125 not out before claiming both Indian openers with the ball finished with concerns around opener Will Pucovski's health following a sickening blow to the head from Kartik Tyagi that forced him to retire hurt, fellow incumbent opener Joe Burns knocked over for a duck to continue his tough start to the summer.
Australia A returned to the batting crease at the top of the day, taking their overnight score of 8-286 to 9-306, Green taking his total to 125 not out before Travis Head called his side in upon Mark Steketee's dismissal for 10, caught down the leg side off Mohammed Siraj despite the ball appearing to only take thigh pad on the way to Wriddhiman Saha.
With a lead of 59 Australia A put early pressure on India, Green's remarkable match continuing when he removed openers Prithvi Shaw (19) and Shubman Gill (29) as part of his new ball burst before lunch.
Michael Neser had a moment to remember when he breached the defences of Indian number three Cheteshwar Pujara for a duck, shaping a ball away from his defensive bat to strike Pujara's off stump.
Hanuma Vihari steadied the innings after lunch with Ajinkya Rahane, adding 54 to give their side the lead and a position of comfort.
Neser removed Vihari for 28 with fellow Queenslander Burns taking the catch, the lead only standing at 45.
The afternoon session belonged to another Queenslander in big quick Steketee, who snared five wickets in a stunning spell of bowling.
It began with the prized wicket of Rahane, adjudged LBW for a boundary-less 28 before Ravi Ashwin (8), Kuldeep Yadav (0), Umesh Yadav (11) and Mohammed Siraj (0) all departed to the paceman, leaving India on the canvas at 9-143, only leading by 84 runs with 27 overs remaining in the match.
After a first innings duck Saha found form with number eleven Kartik Tyagi for company, farming the strike to make an unbeaten 54 from 100 balls, a knock that should secure the 36 year old's spot for the first Test next week.
Tyagi, a man 16 years his junior hung around to add 46 runs for the last wicket, triggering a surprise declaration that left Australia A needing 131 runs in just 15 overs.
It gave Joe Burns and Will Pucovski a second chance to impress for the day-night Test, Burns out for a duck as he chopped on in the opening over of the chase.
The side chose not to go for the ambitious target, Pucovski looking in good touch as he made it to 23 with Victorian team mate Marcus Harris for company.
Disaster struck moments before the teams shook hands, Pucovski felled by a bouncer from Tyagi that left the youngster disorientated, requiring medical assistance.
He was helped from the field retired hurt, Head and Harris there at the end of the match with the total 1-52.
It leaves Chairman of Selectors Trevor Hohns and his selection panel with some headaches ahead of the second warm-up match at the SCG on Friday, to be played under lights against the pink ball against an Indian side that will likely feature first choice Test players Virat Kohli, Mayank Agarwal and Jasprit Bumrah.
The first Test begins in Adelaide on December 17th, with a decision to be made on Pucovski and fellow injured batsman David Warner's availability in the coming days, with potential additions to the squad should the pair be ruled out.
IMAGE: Perth Now.