Australia 'A' on top vs India 'A' as Kohli, Pujara and Co falter once again

Left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe made sure India 'A' did not get away too far as he bagged figures of 3-83 for Australia 'A' to reduce the hosts to 267/6 in their second innings at the end of third day's play of the second and last four-day cricket match at the M.A. Chidambaram stadium on Friday

Chennai: With their backs to the wall after conceding a big first innings lead, India 'A' top-order faltered once again to reach 267 for six at the end of third day's play against Australia 'A' in the second unofficial 'Test' here today.

Getting behind a 214-run lead, the India 'A' top-order failed to convert starts into big scores as opener Abhinav Mukund (59), Shreyas Iyer (49) and Virat Kohli (45) were a few notable performers in the second innings of the four-day game at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

The hosts lead by 51 runs in the second innings with a day's play left in the four-day encounter.

Virat KohliVirat Kohli in action during his brief stay at the crease during the 2nd unofficial Test against Australia 'A' in Chennai on Friday. Pic/PTI

Earlier, the visitor's added 20 more runs to their overnight score of 329 for nine before left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha (4-107) completed the formalities.

India 'A' though have fared better than their first outing when they were hot out for 135 runs. 

Skipper Cheteshwar Pujara (11) failed to inspire the India A batting after running himself out early, while Kohli worked hard in his 94-ball stay before being cleaned up by a Steve O'Keefe (3-83) turner.

Pujara was to be blamed for his late start from the bowling end while Mukund, who made the call for a run swiftly made ground at the other end. 

Karun Nair (31) also departed soon after, scalped by pace spearhead Gurinder Sandhu (1-74) as the Usman Khawaja-led side reduced the hosts to 134 for three. Mukund and Iyer then stitched a 70-run fourth-wicket partnership to stage some sort of a recovery but Ashton Agar (1-71) broke the crucial stand after plotting the left-handed opener's fall. Iyer followed soon after when O'Keefe got him cleaned up in the very next over.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Naman Ojha (30) then tried to play the rescue act with Baba Aparajith (28 not out) with a 47-run sixth-wicket stand but O'Keefe once again broke through.

Ojha struck a six and three fours in his 44-ball stay before giving a leading edge to Khawaja at slip.

Aparajith and Shreyas Gopal (0 not out) are hanging on as the hosts face a tough final day against a side hungry for a win after a draw in the first game.

Brief Scores: India A 135 & 267/6 (Abhinav Mukund 59, Shreyas Iyer 49; Steve O'Keefe 3-83) vs Australia A 349 (Cameron Bancroft 150, Callum Ferguson 54; Baba Aparajith 5-86, Pragyan Ojha 4-107).

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