Jon Holland took three wickets in India A’s first innings. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty
Jon Holland took three wickets in India A’s first innings. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty

Australia A duo shine with the ball to bolster Test hopes

MICHAEL Neser and Jon Holland both bolstered their hopes of Test call-ups on day two of Australia A's four-day clash against India A, getting among the wickets at Bengaluru.

Fast bowler Neser took 4-61 off 20 overs and spinner Holland 3-89 as India A were bowled out for 274 in reply to the tourists' first-innings total of 243.

Queenslander Neser was the first to strike for the Australians, ending a 62-run opening stand by finding Mayank Agarwal's edge (47) before bowling India A captain Shreyas Iyer (3).

Neser later removed tailenders Kuldeep Yadav (18) and Navdeep Saini (0).

In his first match since February, Holland bowled 29.1 overs and was rewarded for attacking the stumps, trapping opener Ravikumar Samarth (25) in front and bowling Srikar Bharat (5) and Krishnappa Gowtham (31).

Australia A went to stumps at 1-42, with Usman Khawaja (16) and Travis Head (13) not out.

With Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins both ruled out of next month's two-Test series against Pakistan and a second-spinner an essential squad option in the United Arab Emirates, Neser and Holland are firmly in the running for Test selection.

Neser was the second-highest wicket-taker (39 at 21.84) in the Sheffield Shield last summer, behind Chris Tremain (51 wickets 21.07), who failed to take a wicket across 13 overs in India A's first innings.

Holland, who has not played for Australia in two years, took 12 wickets across three Shield fixtures in an injury-shortened campaign last summer. The previous summer he took 50 at 20.78.

"I think everyone knows that there's opportunities at the moment at the next level," Holland said at stumps on day two.

"As a collective we're here to win the game and everyone comes out and does their role and then see what happens after that."

Kurtis Patterson was the only man out for Australia on day two, caught behind off the bowling of the in-form Mohammed Siraj for 13, denting his hopes of a maiden Test call-up.

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