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Rahane ton drives India



A century for Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane was the highlight of the opening day of their tour match against Australia A at Drummoyne Oval, in the first of two warm up matches for the visitors ahead of the Test series later this month.


Rahane finished the day unbeaten on 108, helping his team recover from a nervous start to close at 8-235, in a three day first class match featuring a red ball, the second game to be played under lights with a pink ball ahead of the day/night Adelaide Test.


Having won the toss and chose to bat India made a horrible start, losing openers Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill for ducks to fall to 2-6.


Gill edged his first ball from Michael Neser to third slip, while Shaw was caught behind off James Pattinson as Australia A's opening pair had immediate success.


Cheteshwar Pujara picked up from where he left off on India's previous tour of Australia, blunting the bowlers with an impressive defence and capitalising on anything loose.


Hanuma Vihari made 15 before missing an inswinger from Jackson Bird to be adjuged LBW, bringing Rahane to the crease.


Rahane, who will assume the captaincy from Virat Kohli after the first Test when Kohli returns home for the birth of his first child, began in positive fashion with a pair of cover driven boundaries, settling the innings down either side of lunch.


Pujara reached a half century as he spent more than two hours at the crease, the bowlers beginning to tire in the Sydney sunshine.


India's Test number three departed to a rearing Pattinson delivery having made 54, caught at leg gully by Harris in a mode of dismissal that is likely to attract interest from Australia's Test fast bowling attack.


Wicketkeeper Wriddiman Saha was given out LBW to Australia A skipper Travis Head, despite the ball appearing to pitch outside leg from around the wicket, umpire Bruce Oxenford's finger going up in any event.


Ravichandran Ashwin was Pattinson's third victim when he played across a straight delivery, less consternation around Shawn Craig's decision as the off-spinner departed for 5.


Kuldeep Yadav dug in either side of Tea as he added 68 with Rahane, the right hander approaching his century as he found more fluency as his innings progressed.


Yadav was caught at slip attempting to sweep Head in the final over before the second new ball was taken, Umesh Yadav playing some shots to liven proceedings late in the day.


Rahane reached three figures late in the day to record his 34th first class century, unbeaten at the close on 108 from 228 balls having batted for nearly five hours.


Umesh departed for 24 from just 18 balls within shadows of stumps, Mohammed Siraj (0*) there at the close as India finished day one on 8-237 from 90 overs.


Pattinson was the pick of the bowlers with 3-58 from 19 overs, Neser with 2-51 and Head 2-24 to be the other multiple wicket takers.


Play resumes at 7:30 AM AWST on Monday morning, Australia A hoping for a swift end to the innings to allow likely Test openers Joe Burns and Will Pucovski the chance to bat against the touring Indian bowlers.


IMAGE: Cricket Australia.