Offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin treated cricket fans to an unusual sight when he began bowling while wearing his cap for India A on Day 2 of their their first tour match against Australia A in Syndey. The practice of bowling with a cap on is rare but not new to international cricket.

To his credit, Ashwin got India two wickets after the lunch break, leaving the hosts struggling in reply to India A’s first innings total of 247/9 declared.

Ashwin had Marcus Harris caught by Ajinkya Rahane on 35 for his first wicket before he trapped Nic Maddinson lbw on 23.

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Before Ashwin’s twin blows, it was the India pacers, led by Umesh Yadav, who rocked Australia A early knocking down their openers inside first seven overs.

Umesh removed Test hopeful Will Pucovski (1) cheaply when he had the opener out in the fifth over. Pucovski is a strong contender to make his Test debut during India series following his red-hot form in Australia’s top-flight domestic competition Sheffield Shield.

The second opener Joe Burns also fell early managing 4 off 13 after being out caught behind in the seventh over.

Mohammed Siraj then had Australia A captain Travis Head bowled after he had got off to a decent start with three fours in his 35-ball 18.

Ashwin then struck in quick intervals in the second session to leave the hosts struggling at 98/5.

Earlier, India A declared with their captain Ajinkya Rahane unbeaten on 117 off 242. He struck 18 fours and a six during his innings and has started his tour on a strong note.

Rahane will be hoping to take this start into the Test series which gets underway from December 17.

Rahane will have more responsibility during the tour as he is expected to lead India in the absence of Virat Kohli who will return after the conclusion of the first Test in Adelaide.