Alex Carey has lifted Australia A to 3-89 at tea on the final day of their pink-ball tour game as he seeks to draw the game and save face after copping the brunt of an Allan Border spray.
Captain Carey (37 not out) and Ben McDermott (29 not out) steadied for Australia A at the SCG on Sunday, when Joe Burns and Marcus Harris fell cheaply as their side crashed to 3-25 after an overnight declaration.
There are two sessions remaining in the clash and Australia A trail India by 383 runs.
The sting went out of the contest on Saturday, when centurions Hanuma Vihari and Rishabh Pant helped India score 164 runs in the night session.
Former skipper and now commentator Border was stunned by the home side’s lack of intent in the field.
“They were meandering around. Brown’s cows … just going through the motions,” Border said on Fox Sports.
“They’d had a bit of a go earlier in the day but once the game started to get away … they gave up.
“You can handle getting beaten. We’ve put in poor performances, I’ve been part of quite a few, but I don’t think we’ve ever accused Australian teams of not having a go.”
The hosts’ attack was weakened by concussions for Cameron Green and Harry Conway, while Sean Abbott only delivered seven overs during India’s second innings because of a tight calf.
Border questioned why Carey, who has served as Australia’s vice-captain in the past and been touted as a future skipper of the national side, didn’t do more to spark his teammates.
“If Alex Carey is in line to be an Australian captain, he’s got a lot of work to do,” Border said.
“He’s gone down quite a few pegs. He’s a good cricketer, I like what he brings and he’s got a bit of energy himself but he should have reacted to the general feel around the team.
“If I’m coach of that team, last night I would have sent out some pretty terse messages about ‘lifting your expletive, expletive game otherwise you’re out of there, I’m going to get the under-16s from the Mosman cricket club to come and do a better job in the field’.
“I would have absolutely hammered them.”
Border also queried the precautionary decision to withdraw Abbott from the attack.