Chennai: Australia A batsmen once again showed their prowess in tackling the Indian spin attack on a difficult track as they comfortably beat the hosts by three wickets to enter the final of the tri-series cricket tournament, here today.
Australia A have so far won their all three matches and they will now play one among India A or South Africa A in the final slated on August 14.
Chasing a 259 for a win on a slow track that was offering some turn, Australia were reduced 178 for six at one stage before experienced Callum Ferguson (45 no) and young Adam Zampa (54 off 49 balls) added 80 runs for the seventh wicket in 13.3 overs to take their team to the final.
Karn Sharma gave a much improved account of himself on the day as he kept India in the game till the 35th over with impressive figures of 3-45. However it was the Ferguson-Zampa partnership that sealed the match, which seemed like slipping out of Australia A's grip at one stage.
Zampa hit seven fours and a big six off Axar Patel over long-on. While the baby-faced leg-spinner attacked the bowling, the senior pro Ferguson decided to drop anchor as he rotated the strike well during his 63-ball-45.
India A's seam trio of Dhawal Kulkarni (0-39 off 5 overs), Sandeep Sharma (1-43 off 7 overs) and Rishi Dhawan (1-38 in 7.3 overs) did not pose any threat to the batsmen on a docile track. Their change of pace was predictable as the opposition batsmen read them with ease.
It was Karn, who asked a few probing questions with his leg-breaks and flippers. It was in a space of two overs that Karn removed Matthew Wade with a flighted delivery that had the batsman bowled through the gate. Karun Nair then bowled a sharp off-break to get rid of Ashton Agar, who was smartly stumped by Sanju Samson. But it was Zampa and Ferguson, who had other ideas as they steered the team home.
Earlier, India A reached 258 for nine in 50 overs primarily due to in-form Mayank Agarwal's run-a-ball 61 that had seven fours and a six and Manish Pandey's gritty 50.
Pandey in fact should be lauded for his effort as he survived a gash on his cheek, which required a couple of stitches after he collided with opposition glovesman Wade while taking a run. Pandey was retired hurt for the time and came back after the fall of the fifth wicket.
Down the order, Rishi Dhawan's 23-ball-26 helped India cross the 250-run mark.
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