India A almost pulled off a dramatic victory over Windies A at the Kent County Cricket Ground on the final day where they ended up just three wickets short of completing a stunning turnaround. Having already overturned a huge 250-run deficit with some belligerent batting in the second innings, India A piled on the pressure by adding 73 quick runs on the final day before declaring. Karun Nair missed his ton by seven runs before Srikar Bharat chipped in with an unbeaten 33 off just 25 deliveries to set Windies A a target of 360.
Already under the pump following India A’s spirited fightback, Windies A were rocked very early in the chase with Navdeep Saini breaching the defence of Chandrapaul Hemraj for a duck. They suffered another blow shortly as Nair’s decision to bring on the spinners early worked. Jayant Yadav struck in his very first over to knock Shamarh Brooks’s stumps.
A few overs later, it was the turn of Ankit Rajpoot to make further inroads as a free-flowing John Campbell’s innings was cut short to leave his side precariously placed at 77/3. Jermaine Blackwood and Sunil Ambris then stemmed the rot for a brief period as they also knocked off some runs whenever possible. Blackwood, who failed to impress in the first innings, made amends this time with a vital half-century whereas Ambris, the first-innings centurion, looked in good touch once again for a big score. But Shahbaz Nadeem gave India A another opening when he broke the 66-run stand by getting rid of Blackwood.
Windies A then suffered a double blow as they lost both Ambris and Devon Thomas in a space of six deliveries. At that point, Windies A had to bat out 23.5 overs with only four wickets remaining to hold on for a draw. With India A’s hopes of pulling off a massive come from behind win appearing bright, Rahkeem Cornwall and Raymon Reifer withstood the pressure and batted out 18.4 out of the 23.5 overs remaining in the day to frustrate the opposition.
Nadeem then struck again for the second time in the innings to cause panic in the Windies camp but Reifer managed to bat out the remaining 31 deliveries alongwith Jomel Warrican to save his side.
Brief scores: India A 133 (Hanuma Vihari 37; Sherman Lewis 4-35, Chemar Holder 4-57) & 609/6d (Prithvi Shaw 188, R Samarth 137; Sherman Lewis 4-130) drew with Windies A 383 (Sunil Ambris 128, Shamarh Brooks 91; Ankit Rajpoot 4-76) & 245/7 (Jermaine Blackwood 61, John Campbell 44; Navdeep Saini 2-41)
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