Australia A 243 (Khawaja 127, Labuschagne 60, Siraj 8-59) and 292 (Head 87, Siraj 3-77) beat India A 274 (Bawne 91*, Agarwal 47, Neser 4-61, Holland 3-89) and 163 (Agarwal 80, Holland 6-81) by 98 runs
Australia A built sustained pressure on the final day of the first unofficial Test, and it was too much for India A, who crumbled around opening batsman Mayank Agarwal to lose by 98 runs. India had only one major partnership in their chase of 262, with left-arm spinner Jon Holland cutting through the line up with 6 for 81.
Australia didn't begin the day too smoothly though, with the overnight pair of Agarwal and Ankit Bawne seemingly getting more and more impenetrable with every over bowled. The uneven surface from the evening before began unravelling even quicker under the morning sun, but both Agarwal and Bawne were adroit in keeping their stumps guarded with solid technique.
Bawne will be especially disappointed then with his dismissal. Having taken India to 106 for 2 in Agarwal's company, Bawne looked to sweep Holland from an off-stump line and ended up dragging the ball onto his stumps. Having driven handsomely against the turn to beat mid-on off the previous ball, it was a particularly poor decision.
Holland hit a good rhythm early in the day and started coming into his own after Bawne's wicket. The drift he had shown all day was now being followed by big turn and bounce away from the right-handers, and he got innovative with the catchers he had in front of the stumps to make use of it fully.
India barely got the momentum back, losing R Samarth, the opener who came in at No. 5, to the part-time spin of Travis Head. Wicketkeeper-batsman KS Bharat was out for nought when he looked to hook his third ball and lobbed it to leg gully, and K Gowtham was trapped in front by Holland on the front foot. All this in a short passage before lunch, which could have got even worse if Brendan Doggett hadn't overstepped when he had Agarwal caught behind in the last over of the first session.
On a pitch where batsmen struggled to get set, Agarwal made full use of his time. Before unleashing a blitzkrieg as the lower order crumbled around him, Agarwal ruled out all front-foot drives, only getting forward to one overpitched ball that he drilled through extra cover. The rest of his time was spent on the back foot, as Chris Tremain and then Doggett looked to exploit the uneven nature of the pitch by hitting shorter lengths regularly. Agarwal indulged in the hook shot only once, a controlled roll of the wrists that got him a single to deep square. Striking largely under 40 for most of his innings, it didn't seem like runs were a priority for the man who made a rapid 47 in the first innings.
But in the face of an impending loss, Agarwal was forced to open up, much to the delight of the local crowd. Still struggling to gauge the bounce against the seamers, Agarwal went after Holland instead, finding most success when launching him straight and against the turn. Even though his sweeps and reverse sweeps were ineffective, Agarwal found a way to stretch the innings on without exposing the strike to the tailenders. In many ways, it was the perfect Test innings, as he survived everything that was thrown at him, but a minute after bringing the required runs below 100, Agarwal hit one back, straight to Holland, who completed a five-wicket haul that will push his case even further for Australia's series against Pakistan next month.