Siraj puts India 'A' in a winning position

Siraj puts India 'A' in a winning position

ON SONG Mohammad Siraj celebrates after sending back a South African batsman on the third day of their four-day game in Bengaluru on Monday. DH photo/ Ranju P

India ‘A’ strengthened their hold over South Africa ‘A’ at the end of the third and penultimate day of their four-day game here at the Chinnaswamy stadium on Monday.

The visitors managed to stop the marauding Mayank Agarwal (220, 251b, 31x4, 1x6), who failed to add a single run to his overnight score. But despite bagging the big wicket off the day’s fifth ball, South Africa ‘A’ remained on the backfoot thanks to a 95-run stand between K S Bharat (64, 77b, 5x4, 4x6) and Hanuma Vihari (54, 108b, 3x4, 1x6). The right-handed duo helped India, resuming from 411 for two, reach 584 for eight declared.

Trailing by 338 runs, Khaya Zondo’s men suffered another top-order collapse. Mohammed Siraj (4/18) was once again the tormentor. The visitors were 99/4 at stumps and are staring at an innings defeat.

Siraj’s fiery first spell of 8-4-12-3 reduced South Africa ‘A’ to 6/3. The score read 6/2 when rain interrupted play and when the battle resumed after a 57-minute delay, Siraj struck off the very second ball, trapping Zondo in front.

Zubayr Hamza (46 n.o., 99b, 8x4) and Senuran Muthusamy (41, 97b, 7x4) then batted with great responsibility for a partnership of 86 runs. Pacer Rajneesh Gurbani was unimpressive and he was punished by Muthusamy for bowling too short.

The spinners remained ineffective and India ‘A’ fell back on Siraj, who delivered. Muthusamy’s expansive drive took an edge and Vihari latched on to a brilliant catch at fourth slip. The Hyderabadi pacer had bagged 5/56 in the first innings. 

In the morning, Mayank was trapped leg before wicket by left-arm pacer Beuran Hendricks (3/98). Hendricks, who got slight movement thanks to overcast conditions, removed India ‘A’ captain Shreyas Iyer (24) caught behind. The double blow didn’t result in a dip in the run flow due to Bharat’s counter-attack. The 24-year-old executed the pull brilliantly, hammering three sixes off Hendricks.  

But a slog sweep off Piedt brought the downfall of Bharat. Vihari, who reached his half-century with a six, ran himself out for going for a needless second after pushing it to fine leg.

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