Head’s timely Test reminder to selectors in Aussie A tussle
AUSTRALIA A need eight more wickets and India A 199 runs on the final day to win the first four-day match in Bengaluru.
The hosts reached 2-63 at stumps on day three after Australia A scored 292 in its second innings to set India A a total of 262 to win.
Travis Head was the star of the innings - his 87 off 162 balls helping his case for Test selection against Pakistan in the UAE next month.
The South Australia captain resumed day three with Usman Khawaja - who made a century in the first innings - at 1-42.
He forged an 81-run partnership with the Queensland captain and a 50-run stand with Marnus Labuschagne (37).
Head stroked 14 boundaries as he steadily climbed towards triple figures, eventually falling 13 runs short when he was bowled by off-spinning all-rounder Krishnappa Gowtham.
With ball-tampering suspensions to David Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft opening three batting vacancies in the Australian Test team, Head's timely innings could place him in the selection frame for the UAE.
A regular for Australia in white-ball formats, the 24-year-old is yet to earn a baggy green.
His Australia A teammate Peter Handscomb has, but has endured a nightmare tour of India which could see him left behind next month.
The batsman was dismissed for eight after making a golden duck in the first innings. The 27-year-old has made just 12 runs at 3.00 in his two one-day and two four-day innings this tour.
Captain Mitchell Marsh also had a match to forget with the bat, run out for nine after also making a duck in the first innings.
Labuschagne fell on the stroke of tea before fast-bowling trio Michael Neser (25), Tremain (25) and Brendan Doggett (17 not out) ensured the Australians secured a lead of more than 250 runs.
Fast bowler Mohammed Siraj took 3-77, while spinners Kuldeep Yadav (2-51) and Gowtham (2-53) also claimed multiple wickets for India A.
Victoria duo Chris Tremain (1-16) and Jon Holland (1-34) picked up the wickets of Abhimanyu Easwaran (0) and captain Shreyas Iyer (28), with Mayank Agarwal and Ankit Bawne unbeaten on 25 and six respectively at stumps.
Tremain said Australia's bowlers had their fingers crossed the Bengaluru pitch would deteriorate before it was too late to take advantage.
"It might even out a little more. Hopefully for us we can hit a few cracks and get it shooting," he said.
"I think with the weather around and the heat, that will probably be the way it plays out.
"That's what we'll aim for. I'm not sure how India will address it.
"I think it's still evenly poised and we've still got to turn up tomorrow with a full head of hair and give it a really good crack to get a win," Tremain said.
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