Bowlers put India 'A' in command against South Africa 'A'

South Africa 'A' trails India 'A' by 14 runs with only five second-innings wickets in hand.

Jalaj Saxena, in partnership with Shardul Thakur, helped India 'A' recover from seven for 199 to post 303 in the first innings.   -  M. R. Praveen Chandran

After a rearguard fightback by Jalaj Saxena and Shardul Thakur with the bat, the India 'A' bowlers put the host in command by reducing the visitor to 125 for five at stumps on the second day of the unofficial Test match at the Sports Hub on Tuesday. The 100-run eigth wicket stand between Jalaj Saxena (61 not out) and Shardul Thakur (34) gave India 'A' a handy lead of 139 runs after its first innings ended at 303.

In the second innings, the South Africans were all at sea on a wicket which started helping the slow bowlers generously.

However, it was again the medium pacers Mohammed Siraj and Thakur who shook South Africa early by dismissing openers Pieter Malan (4) and Aiden Markram (4) cheaply. But Zubayr Hamza (44) played with freedom and showed the technique to survive on the pitch. Ricky Bhui pulled off a brilliant reflex catch in the slips off Gowtham to end Hamza's stay. And it was left to Heinrich Klaassen (35 batting), who was dropped on 32, and Wiaan Mulder (12 batting) to survive an anxious final hour to push the match into the third day.

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In the morning, South Africa 'A' bowlers bounced back to reduce India 'A' to 199 for seven. However, Saxena (61 not out ) and Thakur (34) joined forces to thwart the South Africans.

Ankeet Bawane fell early to Marco Jansen but both Shubman Gill and K.S. Bharat played freely to add 44 runs for the fourth wicket. But Dane Piedt produced the best ball of the India 'A' innings to clean up Gill (90) when the batsmen looked set for a century. The loopy off-break beat Gill in the flight and ball cannoned on to the stumps through the gap between bat and pad as the batsmen lunged forward.

Then fast bowlers Lungi Ngidi and Lutho Sipamla in a sustained spell of aggression broke the back of Indian middle order.

Sipamla had the well settled Bharat (33) edging a catch to Hamza in the slips and then yorked Gowtham for a duck. Ngidi kept up the pressure and had Shivam Dube (8) caught down the legside by keeper Klaasen. Jalaj, who opened his account after 40 balls, changed gears when the tired South African bowlers offered him loose deliveries.  

However, Ngidi trapped Shardul in front and Piedt with a double strike hustled the end.

The scores

South Africa 'A' 1st Innings: 164

India 'A' 1st innings: Ruturaj Gaikwad b Marco Jansen 30, Shubman Gill b Dane Piedt 90 , Ricky Bhui b Lungi Ngidi 26, Ankeet Bawane b Marco Jansen 6, K.S. Bharat c Hamza b Lutho Sipamla 33, Shivam Dube c Klaasen b Lungi Ngidi 8, Jalaj Saxena not out 61, K. Gowtham b  Lutho Sipamla 0, Shardul Thakur lbw Lungi Ngidi 34, Shahbaz Nadeem st Klaasen b Dane Piedt 0, Mohammed Siraj st Klaasen b Dane Piedt 0
Extras (b-7, lb-4, nb-4): 15 Total (all out in 87.5 overs): 303

Fall of wickets: 1-48, 2-106, 3-133, 4-177, 5-194, 6-199, 7-199, 8-299, 9-303

South Africa 'A' bowling: Lungi Ngidi 16-3-50-3, Lutho Sipamla 15-5-46-2, Marco Jansen 15-3-59-2, Dane Piedt 25.5-4-84-3 Wiaan Mulder 9-2-32-0, Senuran Muthuswamy  7-1-21-0

South Africa 'A' 2nd innings: Pieter Malan b Mohammed Siraj 4, Aiden Markram c Bharat b Shardul Thakur 4, Zubayr Hamza c Ricky Bhui b Gowtham 44, Khayelihle Zondo c Bharat Shahbaz Nadeem 10, Senuran Muthuswamy lbw Shahbaz Nadeem 4, Heinrich Klaasen not out 35, Wiaan Mulder not out 12
Extras (nb-2, b-8, lb-2): 12 Total (for five wkts. in 35 overs): 125

Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-14, 3-38, 4-52, 5-94

India 'A' bowling: Mohammed Siraj 6-1-18-1, Shardul Thakur 7-1-28-1, Shahbaz Nadeem 9-3-13-2, Shivam Dube 4-0-14-0, K. Gowtham 6-1-28-1, Jalaj Saxena 3-0-14-0.