Sharma restricted as Indian bowlers struggle

Associated Press
Sachin Tendulkar from India encourages teammates during the two-day tour cricket match against the Cricket Australia Chairman's XI at Manuka Oval in Canberra, Australia, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Andrew Taylor)
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Sachin Tendulkar from India encourages teammates during the two-day tour cricket match against the Cricket …

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Ishant Sharma bowled only 5.3 overs and appeared to struggle with an ankle problem as the Indian attack struggled to contain some aggressive batting in their tour opening match against the Australian Chairman's XI on Thursday.

Tom Cooper and Wes Robinson scored centuries and shared a 226-run partnership to lift the Australian invitational XI to 398 for six declared on a docile Manuka Oval pitch after acting India captain Rahul Dravid won the toss and elected to field in the two-day match.

Cooper's unbeaten 182 contained 24 boundaries and three sixes, while Robinson's 143 featured six big sixes — including five off test hopeful Pragyan Ojha.

Sharma left the field briefly after bowling the first over before returning to bowl another four overs. After leaving the field again to have his left ankle restrapped, he didn't return to action.

Indian team officials told local media that Sharma had only intended to bowl six overs, anyway, and weren't concerned about his fitness.

Sharma injured the ankle in the recent test series in England and didn't play in the subsequent limited-overs series at home.

India is using the two- and three-day matches in Canberra to prepare for the four-test series against Australia starting Dec. 26.

Ojha took two wickets but conceded 149 runs in 25 overs. Umesh Yadav took 3-39.

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