December 1, 2018 / 6:47 AM / 10 days ago

Cricket: India's Vijay hits ton, Rahul back in runs ahead of 1st Australia test

SYDNEY (Reuters) - India openers Lokesh Rahul and Murali Vijay had useful outings on the final day of their only warm-up match on Saturday in a confidence booster ahead of next week’s opening test against Australia.

Rahul and Vijay are expected to start the innings for the touring side, who lost exciting 19-year-old batting prospect Prithvi Shaw for the Adelaide opener with an ankle injury.

Shaw was taken to hospital for scans after he rolled his left ankle when he tumbled over the rope during the third day of the warm-up contest on Thursday.

Rahul has struggled for runs in recent times and India’s third opening option, Murali Vijay, is on the comeback trail after he was dropped following a poor tour of England earlier this year.

India, the world’s top-ranked test side, got a second chance to bat in the tour match after the Cricket Australia XI kept them on the field for more than 151 overs, finally getting dismissed for 544 with a first innings lead of 186.

Rahul, who was dismissed for three in the first innings, made a stroke-filled 62, hitting eight fours and a six in his knock after an opening stand of 109.

Vijay, dropped for the home two-test series against West Indies, scored 129, his innings studded with 16 fours and five sixes. He smashed off-spinner Jake Carder for 26 in an over to reach his hundred.

The touring side finished on 211 for two with the four-day non-first class match ending in a draw.

Earlier, four batsmen from the representative side scored half-centuries, with wicketkeeper-batsman Harry Nielsen scoring 100 to make the Indian bowlers toil.

The test series begins in Adelaide on Thursday, with further matches in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford

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