A star-studded India 'A' failed against Australia 'A' for the second time in a row, going down by 25 runs in the fifth match of the one-day tri-series on Sunday.
After their seven-run defeat last week, India A were expected to turn the tables on their rivals in a tournament also seen as useful preparation for the senior team’s tour of South Africa at the end of the year.
Glenn Maxwell, who smashed a match-winning 145 in the previous game, struck a 56-ball 93 and opener Shaun Marsh top-scored with 96 as Australia 'A', having elected to bat, amassed 310 for seven wickets. Stuart Binny claimed four wickets but the other pacemen failed to provide quick breakthoughs.
Maxwell and Marsh put on 139 runs together for the third wicket to set up for the final push for runs. Maxwell smashed Rohit Sharma’s only over of spin for 19 runs as India bowlers struggled to contain the runs.
Shami Ahmed took the first wicket but Indian bowlers could not apply the brakes. After much drama over his inclusion in the playing eleven, Pervez Rasool did play and also had Nic Maddinson caught and bowled but further success eluded him. He also made 27 not out.
India A openers Rohit Sharma (61) and M Vijay (60) and one-drop Cheteshwar Pujara (51) all got set but none managed to go on and anchor the innings as they were reduced to 217 for 6 in the 40th over.
At 191 for three after 36 overs and requiring to score at just over eight runs an over, India A suffered a big setback when Pujara fell, caught off Jos Hazlewood.
Ambati Rayudu (32) and Rasool as well as Shami Ahmed chipped in but seamer Moises Henriques struck three blows in succession to run through the lower order.
India A have included many of the senior team players to give them exposure but the current struggles show how big a challengethey can face in South Africa.