Chennai: Parveez Rassol announced his arrival at the big stage by recording brilliant figures of seven for 45 against Australia in the first warm-up game here today.
Rassol wreaked havoc in his three spells as he helped Board President's XI bowl out the visiting side for a modest 241 in 88.3 overs on the opening day at the Guru Nanak College ground. The youngster did expose the now familiar weakness of the Australian batsmen against spin bowling and also presented Chief Selector Sandeep Patil and Co with an option beyond Ravichandran Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh in the off-spin department.
It could not have been a better birthday gift for the immensely talented cricketer from the valley, who recorded his career-best figures a day before his 24th birthday tomorrow. Rassol did not try anything extraordinary in the 28.3 overs that he sent down during the day as he deceived the batsmen with flighted deliveries and also got appreciable turn from the slow track.
His seven scalps included top-order players like regular Test opener Ed Cowan, stand-in captain and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade and all-rounder Steve Smith. Australian openers Cowan and Usman Khawaja (32) added 77 runs for the opening stand before Rassol made inroads into the opposition line-up.
Left-handed Cowan, top-scored with 58 but was done in when he tried to play a cut shot and was snapped up by Parthiv Patel behind stumps. Wade, who is in-charge of the side as Michael Clarke and Shane Watson are yet to arrive, hit couple of sixes of the bowling of leggie Sarabjit Ladda on his way to 35 but misjudged the length of a flighted delivery from Rassol. Wade gave him the charge only to be holed at long-off by substitute fielder Kamlesh Makvana.
After getting two wickets in his first spell, Rassol came back for his second spell to dismiss Smith, who was looking solid during his innings of 41. It was delivery that had bounce as well as turn as the right-hander gloved one to Mandeep Singh at forward short leg. Smith was the sixth man to be dismissed for 198 and then Peter Siddle (22) and James Pattinson (9) again had a partnership of 30 runs.
With tail-enders frustrating the Indian bowlers, Board President's XI skipper Abhinav Mukund again reverted back to Rassol, who then polished off the tail with a lot of finesse. First, it was the dogged Siddle who gave a catch to Mandeep Singh and it was followed Pattinson's hoick which was collected by Ladda to give the youngster his fifth wicket.
The sixth wicket came when Jackson Bird played to a wrong line and was bowled while the innings was terminated when last man Ashton Agar was stumped trying to give the charge and was stumped by Patel in the process.
Save Rassol, leggie Ladda got two wickets but gave away 90 runs in his 26 overs while Stuart Binny dismissed IPL's newest 'Million Dollar Man' Glenn Maxwell.
While almost all the top-order Australian players got a decent start, none of them were able to convert it into a big score. The fringe players of the Board President's XI did well to expose the chinks in the Australian armour.
Harbhajan Singh, who has tormented the Australians in the past should be buoyed by Rassol's success as Cowan, Wade and one among the trio of Maxwell, Smith and Moises Henriques are certain to play in the top and middle-order alongside Michael Clarke, Shane Watson and Phillip Hughes.