Thursday morning’s semi-final between Australia and India in the Under-19 World Cup may not have gone the way the Aussies wanted, but the tournament was enough to prove the green and gold have an exciting wave of new talent on its way through.
The Australians had no answers for Indian skipper Yash Dhull, who struck a run-a-ball 110, and first drop batter Shaik Rasheed (94). With the bat, their troubles facing spin reared its head again as they were rolled for 194 in reply to India’s 4/290.
Despite the disappointing loss, which is the third consecutive defeat to India in the Under-19 tournament, the World Cup gave the world plenty to respect and fear in regards to Australia’s emerging crop of young players.
No star shone brighter than opening batter Teague Wyllie. The 17-year-old was so brilliant throughout the tournament that he became his country’s prized wicket in the semi-final.
Although he fell for only one to a brutal Ravi Kumar in-swinger in only the second over, his ability to anchor Australia’s innings with fast-paced knocks makes him one to watch in the future.
The exhilarating pace of Will Salzmann has also been noticed and feared by many of his opponents.
He was superb yet again when coming on at first change in the semi-final, halting India’s momentum and clean bowling opener Angkrish Raghuvanshi with a brutal in-swinger that managed to jag away and clip off-stump.
It followed a yorker against Pakistan that was widely regarded as one of the balls of the tournament.
If Salzmann’s pace and X-factor ability can continue to develop in the coming years, he may soon be in Aussie colours before long.
Both Salzmann and Jack Nisbet (2/41 off nine overs) stood tall with the ball in hand while India managed to compile a lengthy partnership. Nisbet’s economical and ever-dangerous bowling also makes him an attractive prospect for any state sides going forward.
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Australia’s Under-19 bowling depth was so strong that ambidextrous spinner Nivethan Radhakrishnan only got the two overs on a spin-friendly deck, with the likes of Cooper Connolly and Jack Sinfield rolling out tight overs that made them hard to take off.
Many say the best way to view a batter’s worth is to see how they go when placed under pressure, and Lachlan Shaw proved his worth overnight.
Coming in after two quick wickets reduced Australia to 3/73, the batter-keeper gritted his teeth and fought hard for a tough 51 off 66 balls that kept Australia’s score ticking along. While Shaw was in, victory didn’t look unattainable.
In fact, it’s hard to pick apart too many of Australia’s batting line-up despite the disappointing semi-final effort.
With a third-placed playoff coming up against Afghanistan, the likes of Campbell Kellaway and Corey Miller can focus on turning their 30s against India into big scores that’ll show state selectors what they can offer.
With the campaign only one game away from wrapping up in the West Indies, many would look at the semi-final and think that Australia has failed to improve against the likes of India’s ever-strong Under-19s side.
But a variety of pace, spin and solid batting efforts means Australia’s young representative side is well-placed to produce another crop of brilliant players.
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