Ruturaj Gaikwad (108, 127b, 12x4, 2x6) held firm even as India ‘A’ turned in a disappointing show on the first day of its third unofficial ‘Test’ against New Zealand ‘A’ here on Thursday.
On a M. Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch which held no demons, India ‘A’ was dismissed for 293.
Gaikwad, who had low scores of 21 and 5 in this series, turned the corner with a classy knock. He picked the lengths early, and played all the shots in the book to record his fifth First-Class century.
He found able support in Upendra Yadav, who made a 134-ball 76. Gaikwad and Upendra put on 134 runs for the fifth wicket. When the duo launched the big hits, it forced the New Zealand ‘A’ fielders to scurry into the empty stands to retrieve the ball.
Gaikwad could have piled on the runs, if not for a lazy waft at a wide delivery from offspinner Joe Walker. Walker sent Upendra back as well, caught at deep mid-wicket. Walker, who at times delivered pedestrian long hops and full tosses, was thrilled to scalp two key wickets.
Gaikwad, who has made his name as a white-ball batter, spoke about adapting to the long format. “I feel I was a little rushed in the first two matches, as I was playing red ball cricket after a long time. Mentally and technically, I was not up to the mark in the first two matches. The mindset in this match was to stay at the wicket. I knew that their spinners were not up to the mark, in comparison to our spinners, so the runs would flow,” Gaikwad said.
Loose strokes cost the wickets of Rajat Patidar (30) and Abhimanyu Easwaran (38). Sarfaraz Khan fell for a duck, fending awkward at a rising delivery from pacer Matthew Fisher.
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