IND A v SA A: Hamza, Erwee reign before rain

Zubayr Hamza smashed a handsome 93 to keep South Africa A in the hunt on Day II of the second four-day game against India A at the Platinum Oval.

Zubayr Hamza struck 15 fours in his 125-ball 93.   -  Sampath Kumar G. P.

After collapsing to 345 from a strong position on Day I (322 for 4), India A bowlers could manage only three South African wickets before rain stopped play — 30 minutes before the scheduled stoppage time — at the Platinum Oval here on Saturday.

South Africa A closed its proceedings at 219 for the loss of three wickets on Day Two, with two set batsmen — Rudi Second (35 not out) and Rassie van der Dussen (18 not out) — at the crease.

The Indians started proceedings on a high, Mohammed Siraj trapping Pieter Malan in front of the stumps for a duck on the first ball of the innings.

The dismissal pumped Siraj up. The aggression was evident as he aimed at Sarel Erwee’s stumps twice [on return] after the southpaw blocked a couple of fiery deliveries. Erwee — seemingly a flamboyant version of Dean Elgar — initially took time to settle down, but once Zubayr Hamza (93 off 125 balls; 15 fours) started attacking the bowlers, he followed suit.

In great form since the hundred in the warm-up game and a half-century in the first Test, it was Hamza who made the difference, again.

Nagging partnership

At one point, South Africa was scoring at four an over with Hamza bossing over the bowlers. There was also a bit of chit-chat on the field as the Indians were desperate to break the partnership. Skipper Shreyas Iyer kept saying, ‘Ek lena padega’ (we need one wicket). After occupying the crease for 74 minutes, Hamza reached his second fifty of the tour — off only 57 balls.

Read - The Olivier twist and World Cup dreams

Navdeep Saini came close to dismissing Hamza [when on 67], but the edge flew over Hanuma Vihari at first slip. Erwee and Hamza stitched a partnership of 154 runs for the second wicket, before leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal got India A the much required breakthrough in the 37th over. Shreyas Iyer took a fine catch at slip to dismiss Hamza, seven runs short of his century.

Read - Russell Domingo: 'AB is one of the best, but the game goes on'

Erwee, who hit a couple of sixes towards the latter part of his innings, didn’t last longer. Chahal got him leg-before on 58 (118 b; 7X4, 2X6). Rudi and Dussen added 56 more runs, off 117 balls, before the interruption.

Collapse

In the first session, the Indians collapsed within an hour. Six wickets fell in 11 overs. Speedster Duanne Olivier wreaked havoc and returned with a six-wicket haul. He bowled K. S. Bharat (34 off 69 balls; 4X4) and trapped Jayant Yadav (1) in front of the stumps in the same over.

Anrich Nortje took a leaf out of Olivier’s books and got the precious wicket of Hanuma Vihari (148). The right-hander’s 295-ball marathon innings, laced with 14 fours, came to an end in the 97th over when Hamza caught him at second slip.

Olivier cleaned up the tail in the next 25 balls.

Brief scores
  • South Africa A 219 for 3 (Z. Hamza 93, S. Erwee 58, R Second 35*; Y. Chahal 2 for 62) trails India A 345 (H. Vihari 148, A. Bawne 80; D. Olivier 6 for 63) by 126 runs.