By Ashish Shukla
Canberra: Dec 20, 2011
Left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan's return to the Indian squad did not quite set the stage on fire against Cricket Australia Chairman's XI on the second day of the three-day warm-up game on Tuesday.
The home side, in reply to India's first innings 269 all out, moved to 116 for three by tea, without being unduly troubled by India's pace attack, most certainly not by Zaheer.
The left-arm paceman made an appearance with the team after lunch and bowled six overs on the trot conceding 29 runs but never looked like getting a wicket.
He was pulled and driven quite easily by the second wicket pair of Ed Cowan (65) and Usman Khawaja (25) who put on 76 runs for the second wicket.
Zaheer left the field thereafter and did not return by the time tea break was availed by the players.
The home side have lost three wickets so far, David Warner (2), Khawaja (25) and just before the break, Phil Hughes (20 ) whose ugly attempt to sweep Ravichandran Ashwin resulted in an easy catch at short square leg by wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Hughes' cheap dismissal, even though he got all his runs in boundaries, means he would almost certainly be left of the squad for the first Test starting in Melbourne on December 26.
Pacer Abhimanyu Mithun could get one past the defence of Warner to clean him up in the very first over of the innings.
Umesh Yadav got Khawaja to edge one behind the stumps after the left-hander had stabilised the innings with another left-hander Ed Cowan.
Cowan and battling Test opener Phil Hughes were soldiering on till the tea break, looking to stack up the numbers which could till selectors opinion in their favour in the team, due to be selected soon for the first Test.
Cowan, the Tasmanian who is leading the batting charts of shield cricket this season, has so far made 65 runs off 98 balls, inclusive of nine fours. (PTI)