Gill, Nair help India ‘A’ recover

Gill, Nair help India ‘A’ recover

India A’s Karun Nair made a pivotal 78 on the opening day of the four-day match against South Africa A. dh file photo

Classy knocks from Shubman Gill and Karun Nair gave India ‘A’ a perfect start against South Africa ‘A’ in the second four-day game here at the SDNRW stadium on Tuesday.  

Gill, who made 90 in the first match, slammed a delightful 92 (137b, 12x4, 1x6) while Nair was at his solid best, remaining unbeaten on 78 (167b, 10x4). The right-handed duo’s 135-run alliance was the cornerstone of the hosts’ total of 233/3 at stumps on the opening day.

India ‘A’ were in a spot of bother at 31/2 when both the batsmen joined hands. The first hour saw the pace duo of Vernon Philander and Lungi Ngidi (1/41) create chances with their disciplined effort.

After Ngidi got rid of the in-form Abhimanyu Easwaran (5) leg before wicket in the sixth over, medium pacer Wiaan Mulder dismissed Priyank Panchal. The Gujarat opener, who had an ordinary Duleep Trophy campaign, nicked one to first slip to depart for six. Gill and Nair remained focused and survived the challenging period before breaking free. Gill, who began with a four past mid-off off Ngidi, thrilled the sparse college crowd when he drove and pulled Mulder for consecutive boundaries. The Punjab youngster drove with panache the most of the fuller deliveries.  

The shot of the day also arrived from Gill’s willow. To an over-pitched delivery from Philander, the 20-year-old executed a stylish flick off the wrist and the ball raced past the mid-on fielder.

A lazy shot, however, ended Gill’s stay. The right-hander sliced a short-pitched ball off Lutho Sipamla (1/54) straight to gully. “I am disappointed that I missed out on a century. I had an opportunity in the last game also. But that’s how I play. Just that this time, I failed in executing the shot well,” Gill said.

The rising batsman, who earned his maiden Test call-up for the three-match series against South Africa, said he was excited to be a part of the Indian side. “Being picked for the Indian team is a big deal for every cricketer. I am looking forward to it.”

Nair, who played second fiddle to Gill in the first session, attacked more after lunch. He started the second session with two fours -- a pull and back-foot punch – off Ngidi. The Karnataka batsman then hammered three fours off Sipamla to move closer to a century.

Brief scores: India ‘A’: 233/3 in 74 overs (Shubman Gill 92, Karun Nair 78) vs South Africa ‘A’.