A distinct lack of application from India ‘A’ batsmen saw the hosts staring at a defeat against South Africa ‘A’ at the end of a rain-hit third day of the first unofficial ‘Test’, here today.
Needing 392 runs to avoid follow-on after South Africa posted a mammoth 542 in their first innings, India A were shot out for a meagre 204 in 66.3 overs in their first essay, thereby conceding a huge lead of 338 runs.
For the visitors, off-spinner Dane Piedt (5/88) was the wrecker-in-chief and was a far better bowler on view as compared to the Indian duo of Axar Patel and Jayant Yadav. The South Africa A team then decided against enforcing a follow-on and scored 105 for one declared to set up a gigantic victory target of 444 for the hosts.
In reply, Indians were 73 for two at stumps, needing another 371 runs on the final day to win the match.
As of now an India A win is completely out of question but it will be interesting to see whether the likes of Ambati Rayudu, Abhinav Mukund and Karun Nair can at least earn a draw. At the close of play today, Mukund was batting on 32 in company of skipper Rayudu (13 batting).
Opener Jiwanjot Singh (1) was run-out while Ankush Bains (27) hit five boundaries before being done in by left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj. It was the third consecutive day where South Africans completely dominated as Indian first innings turned out to be a total disaster.
Starting the day on 122 for three, the remaining seven wickets fell for a mere 82 runs. It was Karun Nair (9), who was first to go, beaten by a flighted off-break from Piedt to get leg before. All-rounder Vijay Shankar (3) was done in by sheer pace from Dane Paterson as he was also adjudged leg before.
Skipper Rayudu, who scored 46 with seven boundaries, held one end but saw his teammates depart one after another at the other end. Bains (5) was caught by Quinton de Kock off Piedt’s bowling. Finally, Rayudu also ran out of patience as he tried to hook Maharaj to reach his fifty but was holed out in the deep.
Piedt finally got his coveted five-for when Axar offered a simple return catch. India’s innings ended in 66.3 overs after which South Africa gave their bowlers some respite to help themselves post an massive victory target. PTI