SYDNEY (AP) — Jasprit Bumrah hooked a short-pitch ball from Will Sutherland over the boundary for six to bring up his first first-class half century, then raised his gloved hand to the pavilion to gives his India teammates a thumbs-up.
It was a light-hearted celebration for a paceman not entirely renowned for his work wielding the willow. His previous highest first-class score was 16 not out. His highest test and one-day international scores were 10 not out, and he was averaging 2.9 per innings in cricket’s longest format.
His career best with the bat couldn’t have come at a better time for India, which was struggling after making a blazing start to the three-day tour game against Australia A — a day-night match with a pink ball to rehearse for next week’s series-opening day-night test match in Adelaide.
Bumrah posted the highest score of the innings with an unbeaten 55 from 57 balls — an innings dotted with six boundaries and two sixes — and shared a 71-run last-wicket stand with Mohammed Siraj (22) to lift India from 123-9 in the 36th over to 194 all out in the 49th. India had lost eight wickets for 51 before the tailenders rallied.
India’s two other main contributors where Shubman Gill (43) and opener Prithiv Shaw, who scored 40 from 29 balls before he was bowled by Sutherland in the 9th over to make the total 72-2.
Sean Abbott snared 3-46 and Jack Wildermuth returned 3-13 for Australia A, with Sutherland, Mitch Swepson, Harry Conway and allrounder Cameron Green each taking a wicket.
With India captain Virat Kohli sitting out the match, stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane won the toss and elected to bat first at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Rahane was caught behind for 4 during a period when India lost three wickets for four runs.
Many of India’s players do not have experience of playing with the pink ball, having played just one test against Bangladesh under the day-night conditions. That match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata in January was won by India by an innings and 46 runs.