Nicholls and Raval keep New Zealand stable

An early wicket and a deficit of over 200 runs in the second innings put New Zealand A in a perilous position. But skipper Henry Nicholls and Jeet Raval steadied the innings with an unbroken 85-run third-wicket partnership.

Henry Nicholls was aggressive against the spinners in the second innings. (File photo)   -  AFP

New Zealand A captain Henry Nicholls compiled a fighting half-century to keep the team's chances of forcing a draw against India A alive on the third day of the four-day match at Mulapadu Cricket Complex on Monday.  

The visiting team began the second essay with a deficit of 236 and lost an early wicket — southpaw George Walker was trapped lbw by left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem with his first ball. 

But New Zealand A hung on thanks to a defiant, unbroken 85-run stand for the second wicket between opener Jeet Raval (41 batting, 117, 5x4) and southpaw Nicholls (55 batting, 93b, 7x4, 1x6).

BRIEF SCORECARD

New Zealand A 211 and 104/1 in 40 overs (Henry Nicholls 55 not out, Jeet Raval 41 not out; Shahbaz Nadeem 1/26)

India A 447 in 110 overs (Ankit Bawne 162 not out, Parthiv Patel 65; Ish Sodhi 3/120)


Raval and Nicholls were aggressive; the latter even dispatched Karn Sharma over long-on for a huge six. The duo showed better footwork, played the cuts and the pulls quite frequently, which unsettled the Indian bowlers, especially the spinners. 

Consequently, both leggie Karn Sharma and Nadeem looked less menacing on a pitch which showed no signs of deterioration. 

After the tea break, pacer Shardul Thakur could have sent back Nicholls when on 41 had the diving wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel latched on to the difficult chance. 

When bad light ended the day's play six overs after Tea, the Kiwis were comfortably placed at 104 for one. 

In the morning session, New Zealand pacers showed great discipline to cap a very productive session – conceding 87 runs and picking up six wickets.
 
For the home team, Ankit Bawne continued to bat with a lot of confidence, overcoming an early bout of uncertainty when the pace trio of Seth Rance, Lockie Ferguson and Colin Munro tested the batsmen with short-pitched deliveries. He remained unbeaten (162 not out, 245b, 21x4, 1x6) even as the well-set Parthiv — cleaned up by Rance in the fifth over of the day — and the others fell quickly.