Match Report: India A v South Africa A, 2nd unofficial Test - Day 1
After a very remarkable innings win in the previous game of the two-match unofficial Test series between India A and South Africa A, the hosts have continued maintaining their upper hand against a lackluster opposition by ending the first day of the second Test in a good note. By the time the umpires signaled the end of play, India A were at an authoritative 322-for-4 in 90 overs. Hanuma Vihari remains not out on 138 (273 balls, 13 fours) and has so far been the backbone of the Indian innings after last match's stars Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal failed to repeat their heroics.
On a dry wicket, South Africa captain Khaya Zondo won the toss and opted for his side to field first. His decision gained immediate rewards, as Mayank Agarwal (0 runs) tucked a Duanne Olivier delivery straight into the hands of Zubayr Hamza, in the fourth ball of the very first over. Prithvi Shaw (16) followed suit, edging Anrich Nortje to keeper Rudi Second. Both batsmen had scored in three-digits in the team's solitary innings in the first Test, Agarwal even going all the way to beyond 200.
At 18-for-2, India A smelled trouble, as Shreyas Iyer came in for Shaw, to partner No.3 batsman Hanuma Vihari. The duo carried the team forward up until the 24th over, when misfortune struck again.
Iyer (39, 54b, 6*4) had been displaying some sweet technique until then, but he decided to try breaking away as Muthusamy came in to bowl. The effort ended shortly after, the ball safe inside the palms of van der Dussen. The score was now 80-for-3.
That was probably when Vihari decided to take matters into his own hands - he had a contribution of two runs in the 2nd wicket partnership of 18, and 15 in the 3rd wicket partnership of 62. The next few hours involved a very spirited display from the right-hander, as he started dealing in boundaries as well. A perfect partner in Ankit Bawne (80, 146 balls, 10 fours, 1 six) helped as the both of them staged a commendable rescue effort, which went on till the team score reached 257. In the 177-run-stand, It was difficult to judge who was more pro-active with the willow, as Vihari and Bawne showed great verve to mobilize the scoreboard. Both of them also completed their individual fifties in the process, Vihari also completing his three-digit-mark in addition.
After Bawne departed, wicket-keeper Srikar Bharat (30 not out, 51 balls, 4 fours) gave Vihari company, as the duo carried India beyond the day's finish line without further damage. The side has accumulated a healthy 322 runs, which will give the hosts much hope for a possible series whitewash in the coming days.
Earlier, India A won the first game on the last day of play, after the Protean List-A side displayed resistance over a major portion of the day. Mohammad Siraj emerged the pick of the bowling lineup, with ten wickets across the game, as his side bowled South Africa A for 30 runs short, with an innings still to spare.