Unofficial Test series: Rahul Chahar puts India 'A' on top

Rahul Chahar put India 'A' in firm control against Sri Lanka 'A', on the penultimate day of its second unofficial ‘Test’ at KSCA Stadium on Sunday.

Sri Lanka 'A' batsman Bhanuka Rajapaksa is bowled by Rahul Chahar at the KSCA Stadium in Hubballi on Sunday.   -  Kiran Bakle

Rahul Chahar (84 and three for 73) put India 'A' in firm control against Sri Lanka 'A', on the penultimate day of its second unofficial ‘Test’ at KSCA Stadium here on Sunday. Faced with a huge 430-run target, Sri Lanka-A was reduced to 210 for seven at close of play.

Earlier, Chahar came good with the bat, making a 109-ball 84. His aggressive approach, which yielded seven fours and two sixes, took him well past previous best First-Class highest score of 36.

He received a life on 35, when Sadeera Samarawickram put down a regulation chance at deep square-leg. Fast bowler Lahiru Kumar got Chahar to top-edge a bouncer, only to watch in horror as Samarawickram fluffed it.

READ: India 'A' in driver's seat

Chahar went on to record a 123-run eighth-wicket stand with Jayant Yadav. Lahiru eventually got Chahar to edge one to the ’keeper, but by then, the damage was done.

Jayant (53, 96b, 3x4) lost his stumps to an inswinger from left-arm speedster Vishwa Fernando, and soon after, India-A was bowled out for 372.

Sri Lanka-A lost the first three wickets — Samarawickram (4), Pathum Nissanka (5) and skipper Ashan Priyanjan (6) — in quick time, leaving the side in trouble at 56 for three. Bhanuka Rajapaksa (110, 112b, 17x4, 3x6) then played a brilliant counter-attacking knock to keep the Indians at bay.

Rajapaksa benefitted from a shocker involving wicket-keeper K.S. Bharat and silly-point fielder Abhimanyu Easwaran. Batting on 40, Rajapaksa's sweep off Jayant lobbed up ever so gently to Bharat. An eager Easwaran, however, stuck his hand over Bharat’s gloves, leading to a comical drop.

Bharat and Easwaran proceeded to argue over whose catch it was, and it was left to a young child in the audience to provide the answer. “That’s the keeper’s catch,” the child yelled from the stands, evoking laughter from the rest of the crowd.

The home team had to wait until the final session to send Rajapaksa back. The southpaw failed to read a Chahar googly, and was castled. Chahar also scalped the key wickets of Niroshan Dickwella (18, 39b) and Priyamal Perera 11 (20b) to put India-A on top.

The scores

India-A 269 & 372 in 82.2 overs (Anmolpreet Singh 60, K.S. Bharat 60, Siddhesh Lad 58, Rahul Chahar 84, Jayant Yadav 53, Vishwa Fernando three for 68, Lakshan Sandakan three for 87) vs Sri Lanka-A 212 & 210 for seven in 51 overs (Bhanuka Rajapaksa 110, Kamindu Mendis 33 batting, Rahul Chahar three for 73).