Henriques, Lyon shine with the ball for Australian XI

The man who can meet the ball with the sweet portion of his willow is also timing his performances admirably these days. Ambati Rayudu is making all the right moves.

The 27-year-old right-hander followed up his hundred in the recent Irani Cup with a quality innings of 87 for the Board President’s XI against the Australian XI on the second and final day of the two-day game at IC-Guru Nanak ground here on Wednesday.

Despite Rayudu’s effort, the host finished 11 runs short of the Australians’ modest first innings total of 241. This also meant the other aspirants missed out on an opportunity.

The Aussie pace attack made an impression even if the three frontline pacemen — Peter Siddle, James Pattinson and Jackson Bird — picked up only one wicket between them.

Siddle and Pattinson generated pace and achieved some reverse swing, while the tall Bird gave little away. Support seamer Moises Henriques scalped four wickets with his variations built around control.

The day, however, belonged to Rayudu, who faced 150 balls and struck nine fours and three sixes. He was secure in defence and impressive in offence.

Technically purest

Cheteshwar Pujara and Rayudu are the purest, technically, among the young generation of Indian batsmen. In this context, it is intriguing why Rayudu has still not represented the country in any format when several lesser names have come and gone.

This was the very batsman who, while playing under-19 cricket against England in the Old Blighty in 2002, impressed former West Indian captain Carl Hooper so much that he said, “Man! He (Rayudu) made my hair stand up with his stroke-play”.

Precociously talented, he certainly was. Now, Rayudu seems to have added temperament to his immense natural ability. Crucially, he is sound off the back foot, which is a healthy sign in an emerging Indian batsman when it comes to taking on pacemen.

When Siddle and Pattinson tested him with short-pitched deliveries, Rayudu handled the lifting balls capably.

The little batsman, importantly, was picking the length early and giving himself more time to play the ball. Rayudu makes for interesting viewing, technically. He has a measured back-lift and the downswing is straight.

The right-hander has trigger movement forward, but does not commit himself to the front foot.

When off-spinner Nathan Lyon pitched one short, Rayudu pulled. He then sashayed down the track for a rousing six over long-off off Glenn Maxwell. When Siddle bounced at him, Rayudu essayed an innovative upper-cut. He also flashed Bird through point, but was eventually consumed by Henriques’ change of pace. Even as wickets fell, Parveez Rasool (36), striking the ball to distant corners, offered Rayudu some support.

The scores:

Australian XI — 1st innings: 241.

Board President’s XI — 1st innings:

A. Mukund b Henriques 21,

R.Uthappa c Maxwell b Lyon 24,

Mandeep c Wade b Henriques 3,

A. Rayudu c Bird b Henriques 87,

K. Jadhav c Wade b Lyon 1,

Parthiv lbw b Maxwell 23,

S. Binny b Pattinson 5,

P. Rasool c Maxwell b Agar 36,

Shami b Lyon 14, S. Ladda b Henriques 5,

P. Awana (not out) 0;

Extras (b-4, lb-2, nb-5): 11;

Total (in 68.3 overs): 230.

Fall of wickets: 1-37, 2-47, 3-60,

4-61, 5-102, 6-132, 7-199, 8-213, 9-229.

Australian XI bowling:

Pattinson 9-1-24-1, Bird 10-6-10-0, Siddle 11-3-28-0, Lyon 13-0-63-3, Henriques 9.3-3-12-4, Maxwell 4-1-20-1, Smith 4-0-34-0, Agar 8-1-27-1.

Australian XI — 2nd innings: G.

Maxwell (not out) 12,

U. Khawaja (notout) 1;

Extras (b-2): 2;

Total (for no loss in four overs): 15.

Board President’s XI bowling:

Shami 2-1-9-0, Awana 2-0-4-0.

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