Batsmen put India A on top against South Africa A

Krishnagiri (Kerala), Aug 26 (IANS) A combined batting effort highlighted by opener Abhinav Mukund’s 72 and skipper Ambati Rayudu’s 71 ensured India A a vital 82-run first innings lead against South Africa A at stumps on Day 2 of the second and final four-day cricket match at the Krishnagiri Stadium here on Wednesday.

On the first day, Indian spinners bowled consistently to bundle out the visitors for a mere 260 in the first innings, thanks to a five-wicket haul by left-arm spinner Axar Patel.

In reply, Indian batsmen responded well as Ankush Bains (34 not out) and Patel (16 not out) remained unbeaten to help the hosts reach 342/6 at end of the second day’s play.

For South Africa A, right-arm spinner Dane Piedt (4/154) and pacer Lonwabo Tsotsobe (2/38) were the pick of the bowlers.

India A openers Mukund and Jiwanjot Singh (52) looked positive against a quality South Africa A bowling attack. The duo took time to settle down in the first 10 overs, but as they got used to the wicket they scored freely to take the score close to the 100-run mark.

Soon, experienced pacer Lonwabo Tsotsobe got the better off young Jiwanjot as the Indian was caught right after reaching his half-century to bring an end to the 96-run first wicket partnership.

Incoming batsman Baba Aparajith, in his short innings of 34, played some impressive shots, scoring five boundaries and giving good support to set batsman Mukund. The two helped the team cross the 165-run mark.

The 72-run partnership for the second wicket came to an end when spinner Piedt got Mukund out, who was looking good for a century.

India A received a double blow when Piedt, in his next over, got Aparajith to put the hosts in a bit of concern at 169/3.

Middle order batsmen Sheldon Jackson and Vijay Shankar chipped in with scores of 25 and 21 before getting themselves out to help team close on to the visitors’ total of 260.

But with Jackson and Shankar getting out in quick succession, skipper Rayudu took the reins on himself to help the hosts get past the visitors’ total and take the lead. In his 81-ball 71-run knock, Rayudu hit eight fours and three sixes to put the South Africa bowlers on the back foot.

Brief scores: South Africa A 260 vs India A 342/6 (Abhinav Mukund 72, Ambati Rayudu 71; Dane Piedt 4/154, Lonwabo Tsotsobe 2/38).

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