After suffering a 98-run defeat at the hands of Australia A in the first unofficial Test in Bangalore, India A coach Rahul Dravid said they could have put a better show with the bat.
Chasing 262 in the fourth innings, India A were bundled out for 163 with opener Mayank Agarwal (80 runs) being the only significant contributor. Similarly, Ankit Bawne (91 runs) was the only notable contributor in the first innings as India A made 274 while replying to Australia A’s 243.
"We could have batted better in both the innings. Obviously, batting did get difficult in the second innings as the wicket deteriorated quite a bit. At the moment our squad is such that we have five batsmen and a wicketkeeper, so we are slightly light in that area. If they get the start, the players should try and make it count going longer," Dravid told reporters after the match.
"Unfortunately we did not get a hundred - a 90 from Ankit in the first innings, an 80 in the second from Mayank. But a good learning experience and having lost quite a few batsmen during the course obviously for good reasons going to the Indian team. But we are playing a team with quite a few Test players, some experienced players, so this a good learning experience," he added.
For Australia A, Usman Khawaja scored a brilliant hundred (127) in the first innings while Travis Head made 87 in the second essay. Citing Khawaja and Head’s examples, Dravid said being patient was the key to get runs on this wicket.
"It was not an easy wicket to bat on. For them, Usman Khawaja and Travis Head and for us Ankit Bawne and Mayank Agarwal showed how to get runs. You have to just get patient, you have to get straight and ensure that you don't play across the line,” Dravid remarked.
"The ball was turning but turning slow and you needed to be patient here. This is one of those wickets where you needed to rotate the strike once you get used to it. A few batsmen showed us but unfortunately for us not more than a couple of guys. But a good challenge for many of our players," he explained.
Dravid, however, was satisfied with the bowlers' effort.
"I think we bowled well especially Siraj who restricted them to 240 or so in the first innings. Exceptional effort. Like I said, the batting in the first innings could have been better and get 20-30 more runs as lead. We were in fact 127 for five but fought back well to get 270 odd. Perhaps, what we required was a few more runs in the lead considering the fact that we are going to bat last. It was that kind of wicket that was going to get progressively worse," he asserted.
The batting great had a word of praise reserved for Mohammed Siraj, who claimed 11 wickets in the match including 8/59 in Australia A's first innings.
"What he is doing it is working for him. He is bowling in right areas and he is getting that extra zip and pace off the wicket. At a time like this, when one's confidence is up it's not a wise thing to tinker too much," Dravid concluded.
Alur will host the second unofficial four-day Test between India A and Australia from Saturday (September 8).