Timely centuries by Ruturaj Gaikwad and Baba Aparajith provided a solid platform for India ‘B’ to push and achieve a clinical 108–run win over India ‘A’ in the opening match of the 2019 Deodhar Trophy at the JSCA Stadium here on Thursday.
Put in to bat, India ‘B’ rode on the effort of its two centurions to record 302 for six. The side then went on to restrict India ‘A’, whose last batsman Sandeep Warrier was absent hurt, to 194 for nine in 47.2 overs.
The highlight of the India ‘B’ innings was the knocks of Gaikwad (113) and Aparajith (101). Both the batsmen reached their sixth List ‘A’ hundreds and built the bulk of their side’s total.
Even as his opening partner Priyank Panchal fell cheaply to Jaydev Unadkat, Gaikwad showed composure.
The 22-year-old Maharashtra batsman read the pitch well and did not force his way in the morning conditions favouring the seamers.
Gaikwad’s 47-run partnership with promising Mumbai teenager Yashasvi Jaiswal, who played an entertaining 34-ball 31, revived India ‘B’ from a spell of sluggishness.
Gaikwad and Aparajith, another level-headed batsman, played deliveries on merit without letting the scoreboard get stagnant.
Gaikwad, who got a life on 86, relied on his excellent footwork to gather eight crispy fours and four sixes.
Aparajith carried forward his Vijay Hazare Trophy form. He worked the ball around to make an equally significant contribution in his 158-run stand, spanning for about 37 overs, with Gaikwad as India ‘A’ bowlers struggled to make an impact.
The departure of Gaikwad, who was out lbw while reverse-sweeping Ravichandran Ashwin, did not deter Aparajith. He drove and glanced with confidence to collect six fours and two sixes and reached the three-figure mark while accelerating the pace. He was run out at the non-striker’s end in the 48th over of the first innings.
The purposeful India ‘B’ bowlers applied constant pressure on the opposition.
The discipline showed by left-arm pacer Roosh Kalaria fetched him three wickets, including that of Devdutt Padikkal, who tried to cut too close to his body and was played on.
Mohammed Siraj, who mixed up his pace skillfully and extracted good movement to claim two wickets in his first five overs, seized further momentum. Abhimanyu Easwaran lost his off-stump to a ball that cut in sharply and remained low, while Vishnu Vinod was bamboozled by a fast one in Siraj’s consecutive overs.
Skipper Hanuma Vihari’s determined innings (59 off 82) went in vain as India ‘A’ lost wickets regularly due to variety in bowling and smart fielding from India ‘B.’
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