India A and South Africa A will cross swords in the last of three unofficial Tests, starting Monday, December 6 at Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein.
After two drawn matches, the series is on the line with one game remaining. Unlike the first game where bad weather played spoilsport, the second match turned out to be relatively close.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, South Africa A posted 297 on the board in 105.5 overs.
Marco Jansen top-scored for them with an unbeaten 70, laced with eight fours and one six. Peiter Malan, who scored a ton in the first game, bagged a golden duck after Arzan Nagwaswalla got rid of him. Sarel Erwee, Raynard van Tonder, Zubayr Hamza and Sinethemba Qeshile failed to convert starts.
Navdeep Saini and Ishan Porel were the pick of the India A bowlers as they picked up three wickets apiece. Nagwaswalla, Saurabh Kumar and Baba Aparajith were also amongst the wickets.
India A were shot out for 276 as they conceded a 23-run lead to their opponents.
Hanuma Vihari and Sarfaraz Khan notched half-centuries. Glenton Stuurman picked up four wickets and was the pick of the bowlers for the hosts. Marco Jansen also accounted for three scalps.
South Africa A faltered in their second innings, being bowled out for 212 in 58.5 overs. None of their batters scored half-centuries.
Chasing a target of 233 to win, India A batters had minimum chances of getting over the line. But they showed a great amount of patience in the middle.
Abhimanyu Easwaran and Vihari racked up well-made half-centuries.
Can India A come up trumps?
India A bowlers looked in excellent rhythm in the previous game and the outing should give them a lot of confidence.
They managed to hit the right channels and made an impact in both innings. Their batters also performed well, especially in the second innings of the match.
South Africa A, on the contrary, looked a tad out of sorts. After a decent showing in the first game, they looked jittery. But keeping in mind their class, they are expected to bounce back.
The third and final game of the series is also expected to end in a draw due to lack of time.
Prediction: The match will end in a draw.
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