Atharva Ankolekar’s combative half-century lifted India to 233 for nine after the defending champions lost wickets at regular intervals against Australia in their U-19 World Cup quarterfinal in Portchesfstroom on Tuesday.
Invited to bat, India lacked a substantial partnership until Atharva and Ravi Bishnoi joined forces to raise a fighting 61-run stand for the seventh wicket.
Atharva scored an unbeaten 55 off 54 balls with five fours and a six.
At the top, only opener Yashaswi Jaiswal put up a semblance of resistance against the Australian attack, scoring an 82-ball 62 with the help of six fours and two sixes.
Divyaansh Saxena (14), Tilak Varma (2), Priyan Garg (5) and Dhruv Juel (15) all struggled.
After losing one partner after another, Jaiswal went for a pull off Tanveer Sangha but edged the ball between his legs on to the stumps.
Before Sangha came on to bowl, bespectacled off-spinner Todd Murphy (2/40) frequently troubled the Indian batsmen.
Jurel, whose technique looked compact, timed the ball well but often found the fielders. Not being able to find the gaps meant his scoring rate was quite low.
Jaiswal, who was fluent in his stroke-making, had already departed and it adversely affected India’s run rate.
Under pressure, Jurel went after Muprhy but ballooned the ball up for wicketkeeper Rowe to take an easy catch.
Siddesh Veer too got out soon, leaving the tail-enders with an unenviable task to up the run rate.
Bishnoi and Atharva largely worked the ball around to keep the scoreboard ticking, taking advantage of the Powerplay overs. Bishnoi ended the boundary drought when he drove Sangha through the cover region.
Atharva guided Sully for a four behind square and then one more time, through the covers, to raise the team’s 200. Their stand ended with the run out of Bishnoi in the 48th over.
The left-hander reached his fifty with a six off Sully.