Rajat Patidar (109 n.o., 135b, 13x4, 2x6) and Ruturaj Gaikwad (94, 164b, 11x4) got among the runs to put India ‘A’ in a position of strength in the third unofficial ‘Test’ against New Zealand ‘A’ here on Saturday.
On the penultimate day, India ‘A’ declared on 359 for seven to leave New Zealand ‘A’ a stiff target of 416. At close of play, the visitor moved to 20 for one.
Patidar’s great run continued, as he notched up his second century in this series. A few months prior, Patidar had scored 122 for Madhya Pradesh against Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy final held at this venue.
Patidar’s exploits for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL has helped the batter no end. “Scoring runs for RCB definitely helped me gain confidence. I’ve carried that confidence here,” Patidar said.
Gaikwad was on course to make his second hundred of the match. A tame catch to mid-off, however, brought his demise.
Opener Priyank Panchal batted well for his 62. He was dismissed at the stroke of Lunch, when he patted an innocuous short ball from spinner Joe Walker back to the bowler.
Sarfaraz Khan (63, 74b, 7x4, 2x6) played a few attractive strokes. In the search for quick runs, Sarfaraz swept a full toss from left-arm spinner Rachin Ravindra to Robert O’Donnell at mid-wicket. Rachin sent back Upendra Yadav and Shardul Thakur in the same over, which prompted India ‘A’ to declare.
With the New Zealand ‘A’ bowling lacking bite, the batters - apart from Patidar - missed the chance to record big, eye-catching scores.