Ed Cowan stakes claim with century
Two batsmen and two spinners performed impressively for either side on the second day in Canberra, leaving the tour match between the Indians and the Cricket Australia Chairman’s XI evenly poised.
Virat Kohli, who is likely to be India’s No. 6 on Boxing Day, converted his half-century into a hundred, before the left-arm spinner Jon Holland triggered a lower-order collapse and limited the visitors to 269. Holland finished with figures of 6 for 70.
Opening batsman Ed Cowan then strengthened his case for a call-up to Australia’s Test squad by scoring his fourth consecutive long-format hundred. The 109 off 154 balls he made at the Manuka Oval came after two centuries in the Sheffield Shield and one for Australia A against the touring New Zealanders. Cowan steered CA Chairman’s XI to a position from where they were well placed to take a first-innings lead, but the offspinner R Ashwin struck three quick blows to help reduce them to 7 for 214 at stumps, still trailing by 55 runs. Ashwin had figures of 4 for 52.
Another focal point of the day’s play was the performance of Zaheer Khan, who did not play the first tour game. Zaheer is working his way to an international comeback after ankle surgery and his first outing in Australia wasn’t impressive – he went for 41 in 10 overs and took no wickets.
The day began with the Indians on 4 for 162, with Kohli batting on 55. Rohit Sharma was dismissed early, ending a partnership of 101 for the fifth wicket. Kohli continued to bat briskly, hitting 18 fours and two sixes on his way to 132 off 171 balls, but the Indians lost MS Dhoni and Ashwin to Holland. Kohli was eventually caught by the wicketkeeper Tim Ludeman off Holland, who then polished off the tail in a jiffy.
The CA Chairman’s innings began poorly, with the captain and Test opener David Warner getting bowled by Abhimanyu Mithun for 2. The rest of the innings was all about Cowan, as none of his team-mates got stuck into the Indian attack. Cowan, however, was fortunate to reach his century. On 95, he was caught short of his crease by a direct hit from Rohit, but Cowan had run behind the umpire John Ward, who was unable to see that the batsman was run out.
The two other Australia batsmen in the CA Chairman’s XI line-up had ordinary outings. Usman Khawaja made 25 off 49 balls and Phillip Hughes, who batted at No. 4, managed 20 off 29 before he was caught off a sweep.
The CA Chairman’s XI had reached 184 for 3 before Ashwin began to work his way through the middle order. Four wickets fell for 30 runs, with left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha dismissing Cameron Boyce in the day’s final over.