India A vs Australia A: Usman Khawaja 50 lifts tourists after Mohammed Siraj’s four
Usman Khawaja battled his way to a vital fifty. (file photo) @Getty

An unbeaten half-century to Usman Khawaja proved the backbone for Australia A’s innings on the first morning of the first unofficial Test in Bengaluru, after Mitchell Marsh opted to bat. Leading the way for India A was pace bowler Mohammed Siraj, with all four wickets to fall, including those of Test players Peter Hanscomb and Marsh for ducks.

Australia A were given a good start by Khawaja and Test hopeful Kurtis Patterson, who put on 78 in 25.2 overs before the latter was bowled for 31 by Siraj. This triggered a collapse of three wickets for 12 runs. Next to go was Travis Head, caught behind for 4, before Siraj had both Hanscomb and Marsh lbw without scoring.

Khawaja, using all his Test experience, buckled down and ground his way to a vital half-century in the company for Marnus Labuschange.

The four-day matches are being viewed as a selection trial for Australia’s Test tour of the UAE to play Pakistan in October, and with the squad to be named after the tour, there are several Test aspirants hoping to impress the selectors.