On the eve of Gujarat’s Ranji Trophy quarterfinal contest against Kerala at the Wayanad Cricket Stadium, captain Parthiv Patel had reserved a word on batsman Priyank Panchal.

“He has been scoring heavily season after season,” he had said. “I feel it is time that he got recognition at the higher level.”

When that recognition came, with a call-up to the India-A side, Panchal showed what he was capable of. The 206 he scored on Saturday against England Lions, he said, was the best knock of his career. “I would rate this even better than my 314 against Punjab in the Ranji Trophy two years ago. To score a double hundred in a four-day international match means a lot to me,” he said.

'Fine innings' from K. S. Bharat

He enjoyed batting with K. S. Bharat. “It was such a fine innings from him. It was great to watch him play all those strokes,” Panchal said.

England captain Sam Billings said both Panchal and Bharat batted really well. “We have to give credit to them,” he said. “We tried our best but could not stop them. Yes, we did bowl a bit short at them, but there wasn’t much to do on this wicket.”

He said the India-A batsmen showed how to bat on a pitch like the one the teams encountered. “Now we have to bat like them on the final day,” he declared.