Aus shot out for 218 in practice game

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Ricky Ponting continued to come a cropper in India as Australia floundered against RCA's Centre of Excellence team in a two-day practice match.

Updated: October 01, 2008 13:55 IST
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Captain Ricky Ponting (5) continued to come a cropper in India as Australia floundered against Rajasthan Cricket Association's Centre of Excellence team in a two-day practice match, folding up for 218 on the first day.

Home team left-arm spinner Gajendra Singh was the wrecker-in-chief returning with five for 58 including the prized scalps of Ponting, who has always battled for form in India, and his deputy Michael Clarke (2) at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

Sumit Mathur returned with two for 39 while Venugopal Rao, who reached here late in the evening from Chandigarh to lead the local team, claimed one wicket to deny the Australians a good start in their tour to India.

At the draw of stumps, the RCA side were 38 for two from 11 overs with Venugopal and Gagan Khoda on 18 each.

Opener Simon Katich top-scored for the visitors with a strokeful 73 off 105 balls on a dry pitch which was keeping low as the day progressed.

He was the only Australian batsman to find the boundaries regularly with 10 hits to the fence, while all his team-mates struggled against a bowling attack of Rajasthan Ranji players.

The other opener Matthew Hayden, playing after a long injury lay-off, failed to impress in his 80-minute stay at the crease, scoring 16 from 48 balls with just one four before becoming yet another victim of Gajendra.

All-rounder Shane Watson, expected to find a berth in the Test XI, made 30 while wicket-keeper Brad Haddin contributed 21.

Katich and Hayden gave a good start by sharing a 59-run first wicket stand after batting first but were reduced to 113 for three by lunch break taken after 31 overs.

In the post lunch session, Watson and Haddin looked like reviving the Australian innings by sharing a 50-run stand for the sixth wicket but once they were out the Aussie tail failed to carry through the day and the team was all out in 77.1 overs a hour after the tea break.

However, the Australians bowlers struck form immediately and pacer Brett Lee was bang on target as he trapped Rajasthan opener Subhanshu Vijay leg before for a nought off his very first ball.

Stuart Clark, who did not bat in the Aussie innings as 12th man, then removed the other opener VA Saxena in the next over for another duck with the hosts' score at two for two before Venugopal and Khoda saw through the day.

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