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Iyer crushes Oz spinnersIndia A batsman Shreyas Iyer hit 27 fours and seven sixes in his unbeaten knock of 202 runs against Australia at the Brabourne Stadium. AFP

Iyer crushes Oz spinners

Oz tweakers taken for 4.9 runs an over, get a preview of things to come20 Feb 2017 | 2:09 AM

MUMBAI:Shreyas Iyer completed his double century, finishing unbeaten on 202 off 210 balls, before India A were bowled out for 403 by the visiting Australians at the Brabourne Stadium here today.

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Tribune News Service

Mumbai, February 19

Shreyas Iyer completed his double century, finishing unbeaten on 202 off 210 balls, before India A were bowled out for 403 by the visiting Australians at the Brabourne Stadium here today. The match ended in a draw, the visitors, who had taken a 66-run lead, finishing with 110/4 in their second innings.

Iyer, the 22-year-old Mumbai batsman, struck 27 fours and 7 sixers, all seven off Australia’s spinners Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe. Lyon was also hit by tail-ender Krishnappa Gowtham for four huge sixes on his way to a whirlwind 74 off 68 balls.

Back in 1998, when the Australians toured India for a three-Test series, they played a warm-up match at the same venue, Brabourne Stadium. Then too a young Mumbai batsman, Amit Pagnis, attacked their spinners, especially Shane Warne. Then too a Mumbai batsman, Sachin Tendulkar, made a double century. That match set the tone for the Test series, which India won 2-1 after going 2-0 up. That practice match at Brabourne exposed the inadequacies of the Australian attack — despite the presence of Warne.

Aussie spin ‘attack’

The India A batsmen exposed the inadequacies of the Australian attack today. Off-spinner Lyon was taken for 162 runs in 28.5 overs, at 5.61 runs an over; left-arm spinner O’Keefe gave away 101 in 24 overs, at 4.2 runs an over. Glenn Maxwell too bowled, six overs of his off-spin, giving away 26 runs. In all, the India A batsmen gathered 289 runs from the spinners, at close to 4.9 runs an over.

Iyer, who resumed at his overnight 85, completed his century within 10 minutes of play today and put the Aussie attack, especially the spinners, to the sword. With Gowtham, he shared a 138-run stand for the seventh wicket.

Spinners in trouble

The morning’s play belonged to Iyer and Gowtham, who used the bat like a club and smashed Lyon for four huge sixes, to dent his confidence a bit ahead of the first Test, which begins on February 23. Iyer galloped from 184 to 202 with the help of four fours in one over from O’Keefe before the innings came to an end. 

Gowtham, a 28-year-old off-spinner with a first-class batting average of 24.16, didn’t bowl at all in the first innings because of a hamstring injury and sent down only four overs in the second. He reached his half-century off just 43 balls. The Australians were surprised by his batting.

“Lyon was not that happy when Gowtham came in and started attacking him. He was really disappointed by the way Gowtham hit him,” Iyer said later. “He (Lyon) started asking me who is this guy! I told him he’s an off-spinner. Later he asked me whether he (Gowtham) was acting (pretending that his hamstring was injured) when fielding. He was not that happy when he was taken off after six overs.”

Ashwin at 100%?

The Australians were impressed by Iyer. “That’s their mentality, to apply a bit of pressure on our spinners. They did that — credit to them, they played very well,” Warner said later.

He said his team needs to bowl maiden overs to put the Indian batsmen under pressure. “Over here you’re going to have to be prepared to bowl maidens and that’s one thing we have to try and do,” Warner said.

Ravichandran Ashwin, India’s No. 1 spinner, has said that he’s been bowling at 60 to 70 percent of his potential. Warner said he doesn’t like the idea of Ashwin bowling at his 100 percent. “Well, if he says he’s bowling at 60 to 70 percent, then Jesus, what else has he got?!” said Warner. “24 or 25 five-fors in the last 12 months, bowling at 60 to 70 percent! I’d hate to see 100 percent then.” 

Brief scores: Australians 469/7 decl. and 110/4; India: A: 403 all out (Iyer 202*, Gowtham 74; Lyon 4/162).   — With agency inputs

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