Shreyas Iyer slammed a brilliant century (108, 97b, 14 x 4, 2 x 6) to help India-A stay on top against New Zealand-A on the second day of the four-day Test match at Mulapadu Cricket Complex, here on Saturday.
The home team scored 320 in its first innings to take a 173-run lead and then struck two blows to leave the visitors at 64 for two at close of play.
Earlier, even as leg-spinner Ish Sodhi bowled his heart out on a pitch which by no means was a turner to return with a five-wicket haul, it was Shreyas’ innings that kept the Kiwis at bay.
The quick-footed Shreyas was in a hurry to take the attack to the rival camp and was successful in doing so. And he packed lot of power in his strokes, so much so that even a mistimed pull off left-arm spinner George Worker sailed over the fence. His carefree approach was in striking contrast to the cautious batting from the others.
First to disappoint was India-A captain Karun Nair, who was bowled trying to cut Sodhi in the sixth over of the day. Then, the well-set opener R. Smarth, fell to the legside trap of pacer Scott Kuggeleijn after scoring a half-century. Even Hanuma Vihari failed to come good, driving Sodhi uppishly straight to short covers on the stroke of lunch.
The India-A innings was all about Shreyas’ class, and a breezy knock by Rishabh Pant later on, as the Kiwi bowlers barring Sodhi failed to make an impact in hot and humid conditions.
In the final session, overcautious New Zealand A openers George Worker and Jeet Raval defied the home team bowlers until the 18th over. Then, in the space of six balls the visitor lost Raval, bowled trying to sweep left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, and captain Henry Nicholls, who was pushed on to the backfoot to be trapped lbw by leggie Karn Sharma.
New Zealand A 147 and 64 for 2 (Worker 28 not out, Raval 21) trails India A 320 (Samarth 54, Iyer 108, Pant 67; Sodhi 5 for 94) by 109 runs.