India U-19 eases to nine-wicket win against South Africa

India under-19 completed an easy nine-wicket win over South Africa in the first unofficial Test.

India under-19 opener Divyaansh Saxena receiving the man of the match award from match referee Pankaj Dharmani.   -  Special Arrangement

India under-19 completed an easy nine-wicket win over South Africa in the first unofficial Test at the KCA-St. Xavier's College ground here on Friday.

Needing 35 runs to go ahead in the series, the host lost man-of-the match Divyaansh Saxena (18) at the doorstep of victory. However, opener Varun Nayanar (19 not out) struck medium-pacer Kgaudise Molefe for successive boundaries to end the formalities.

South Africa resumed the day at 34 for three, folded up for 167 runs with only Bonga Makhakha (74) defying the Indian attack. The Indian spinners Manav Suthar (three for 44) and Hrithik Shokeen (three for 52) scythed through the South African batting line-up by taking six out of the seven wickets that fell on the penultimate day.

Bonga Makhakha showed the temperament and skill to survive on the pitch which afforded some turn and bounce to the slower bowlers.

Most of the South African batsmen made the error of playing the Indian spinners from the backfoot and were sitting ducks to the sharp bouncing balls.

Makhakha used his feet to smother the spin and  swept the spinners to score runs. However, the productive sweep shot also led to his dismissal as Makhakha lost his balance while trying to sweep Shokeen and Suraj Ahuja pulled out a smart stumping.

Earlier, the overnight pair of Bonga Makhakha and Andille Mogakane (30) negotiated the opening hour without any alarms.

However, the introduction of Shokeen brought in instant reward for India as he clean bowled Mogakane when the batsmen pushed forward to a ball which held its line.

The only partnership of note was the 43-run stand for the sixth wicket between Makhakha and Luke Beaufort (11). The duo resisted the Indian spinners for more than an hour as South Africa lost only two wickets in the first session.

However, Beaufort fell quickly after the break playing back to a ball from Shokeen which bounced a little more and gave Varun an easy catch at silly point. Marc Jansen and Achillie Cloete tried extravagant shots off left-arm spinner Manav Suthar and perished. It was all over when Lifa Ntanzi ran himself out trying to take a non-existent single.

The Indian openers Varun Nayanar and Divyaansh Saxena hit a flurry of boundaries off medium pacers to hasten the victory.

The scores

South Africa (U-19): 197 & 167 in 66 overs (Bonga Makhakha 74, Andille Mogakane 30, Manav Suthar three for 44, Hrithik Shokeen three for 52) lost to India (U-19) 330 & 37 for one in 7.5 overs.