Smith, Marsh shine as Australia make encouraging start to India tour


Skipper Steve Smith and Shaun Marsh each compiled centuries as Australia enjoyed a positive start to their sole warm-up game ahead of a four-Test series with India.

On the same day that a weakened Australia Twenty20 side suffered a five-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka at the MCG, Smith and his Test team began a three-day fixture against India A at Mumbai's Brabourne Stadium.

Home captain Hardik Pandya generously opted to field first, affording the tourists first use of a placid surface, and it was Smith and Marsh who capitalised, reaching 107 and 104 respectively before retiring to allow others time in the middle.

Peter Handscomb added 45 as Australia reached stumps on 327-5.

Marsh - who looks likely to play in next week's first Test after being selected ahead of Usman Khawaja - was quoted by ESPNCricinfo as saying: "Everyone got a bit out of it today [Friday], which was great. As individuals and as a team, it always gives you a bit of confidence when you have a good day in a warm-up game.

"Smithy batted really well, and all the other batters got a bit out of it as well. So, it was a good day.

"Hopefully we can continue that over the next couple of days and make sure we're ready to go [for the first Test] next week."