Jon Holland and Michael Neser took seven wickets between them to help Australia A come back into the contest against India A on the second day of the first four-day game.
Holland, the left-arm spinner, toiled for just under 30 overs, taking three wickets while Neser utilised reverse swing to take four wickets, keeping India down to a manageable total.
Australia A had been blown away for just 243 in their first innings, courtesy Mohammed Siraj’s career-best figures of 8/59. But having bowled the hosts out for 274 after that, Australia are well and truly alive in the contest. They then got to 42/1 in the second innings before close of play.
Holland, who played two Tests for Australia in 2016, was crucial to the effort. He not only held one end up and kept the pressure on, but also chipped in with crucial wickets of Ravikumar Samarth, Srikar Bharat and Krishnappa Gowtham.
The effort puts the Victoria spinner back in contention for a potential Test recall for the series against Pakistan in United Arab Emirates later this year to complement Australia’s primary spinning option in Nathan Lyon.
As for the quicks, it was Neser that waded into the strong India A batting line-up, taking 4/61 including the big scalps of Mayank Agarwal and Shreyas Iyer.
The right-arm seamer got a hint of reverse swing that troubled the batsmen – there might be some openings in the pace department since Pat Cummins and Hazlewood with injury.
The secret to Neser succeeding was that he bowled a nagging line and waited for the mistakes. “We spoke about it before the match that we just had to be patient and bowl in the right areas and bash a good length,” Holland said.