India A flip script to secure series win

For the second time in as many unofficial Tests, India A came from behind, and this time, unlike the first game, managed to secure a win over Windies A. The turn of events on the third day proved crucial for India A to flip the fortunes of the contest and be in a favourable position. With 107 runs needed on the final day, Rishabh Pant led the charge with a brisk half-century and powered the side to a five-wicket win, and secured a 1-0 victory in the two-match series in Taunton on Friday (July 13).

After having conceded a 110-run lead in the first innings, Mohammed Siraj and Rajneesh Gurbani’s spell helped bowl out Windies A for 210 in their second essay. Needing 321 to win, India A’s chase was powered by a 136-run stand between Karun Nair and Hanuma Vihari. The skipper fell off the last ball of the penultimate day, and a couple of early wickets on Friday had derailed India A’s innings. Vihari was run out and Ankit Bawne was castled by Sherman Lewis for 1.

From 214 for 2, they were reduced to 222 for 5. With questions over allrounder Vijay Shankar’s availability, Windies had managed to enter India A’s lower middle order. However, India A, despite having an entire day to get the remaining runs, refused to go slow in their proceedings.

While, barring Raymon Reifer, all the bowlers suffered the brunt of Pant’s assault, the most severe of treatments was reserved for Oshane Thomas who was slammed for four consecutive boundaries in the 63rd over, through which Pant also brought up his fifty. The southpaw stroked 11 boundaries, through a flurry of drives, en route his fifth first-class fifty, and combined with Jayant Yadav to wipe off the remaining 99 runs off only 17.2 overs.

India’s chase was well-supported by Windies, who had another erratic show with the ball. The ‘keeper had 10 more runs credited in byes, taking his account to 45 in the innings, and 59 in the match. The count of wides shot up to 19 and the total runs conceded in extras to 58 in the chase.

Brief scores: Windies A 302 (Shamarh Brooks 122; Mohammed Siraj 4-68) & 210 (Jermaine Blackwood 67; Mohammed Siraj 4-64) lost to India A 192 (Ankit Bawne 43, Raymon Reifer 5-50) & 321/5 (Hanuma Vihari 68; Jomel Warrican 1-36) by 5 wickets.

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