India A’s strong line-up to take on Australia A on Thursday

Cheteshwar Pujara will lead the India A team in the tour to South Africa © Getty Images

Pretoria: Aug 7, 2013

A formidable India A with a lot of senior team regulars will be facing an upbeat Australia A in their first match of the tri-series cricket tournament starting in Pretoria from Thursday.

A keen contest can be expected as some of India’s established youngsters like Cheteshwar Pujara, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina will be facing the future generation of Australian cricketers.

Australia will go into the match on a confident note having beaten hosts South Africa A by three wickets in the tournament opener at the LC de Villiers Stadium in Pretoria on Tuesday.

India A will be taking on the Australians at the same venue tomorrow to mark the beginning of a tour which is seen as a dress rehearsal on bouncy strips for the team’s young batting turks for their tour of the country at the end of the year.

While the likes of Rohit and Dhawan, who are expected to open the batting in ODIs will be keen to get accustomed to the pace and bounce of the wicket, it will be an acid test for Raina.

The UP batsman’s technique has been found wanting on pitches which has a fair amount of pace and bounce and he would ideally like to turn the tables on this tour.

India A captain Pujara will like to use this tri-series to prove to the selectors that he is good enough to be persisted with in the limited overs format despite his twin failures in Zimbabwe.

The Australian team’s batting is heavily dependent on their senior internationals like Shaun Marsh and Aaron Finch.

Left-handed Marsh’s 136 off 137 balls was instrumental in his team’s victory against South Africa on the other day. Marsh’s captain Finch also made an useful contribution of 62.

The other players to look forward to in the Australian line-up are talented all-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Nathan Coultier-Nile apart from Indian-origin fast bowler Gurinder Sandhu.

India are likely to test a new crop of fast bowlers including MP pacer Ishwar Pandey and Punjab’s Siddharth Kaul who are likely to fight for a spot in the playing eleven with Mohammed Shami and Jaydev Unadkat.

After being inexplicably ignored during the senior team’s recent tour of Zimbabwe, Jammu and Kashmir all-rounder Parveez Rasool will be fighting out for the lone spinner’s spot in the eleven along with Jharkhand left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem.