SHIMOGA, India — Virender Sehwag’s experiment to bat in the middle-order didn’t yield any favourable result while Gautam Gambhir’s woeful run of form continued as India A reached 191-3 at stumps on the second day of their second unofficial ‘Test’ against West Indies A on Thursday.
After West Indies A scored a decent 406 in their first innings, opener Gambhir (11) and No. 4 Sehwag (7) played atrocious shots off left-arm spinner Veeraswamy Permaul’s (2-60) bowling to get back to the cooler confines of the dressing room.
Opener Vasudevan Jagadeesh showed a lot of temperament as he remained undefeated on 79 in the company of in-form Abishek Nayar who again showed his utility with a brave 56.
Jagadeesh, who narrowly missed out on a century during a ‘Test’ against New Zealand ‘A’ earlier this year, showed a lot of composure during his 172-ball knock that included eight boundaries.
Nayar was in his attacking self as he smacked seven boundaries and a six in only 38 balls, coming into bat after skipper Cheteshwar Pujara (25 off 90 balls) was dismissed after a dogged effort.
India were 215 runs behind West Indies A and require another 66 runs to avoid follow-on at the Jawaharlal Nehru National College of Engineering Cricket grounds.
The capacity crowd of over 10,000 — mostly engineering students were left high and dry by the Delhi duo Sehwag and Gambhir, who disappointed fans.
Gambhir didn’t look comfortable at all against seamer Miguel Cummins as he struggled for 43 balls with just a boundary to his name. Left-arm spinner Permaul got his scalp in his third over as Gambhir tried an ugly hoick but managed to offer a dolly to Fidel Edwards.
While Gambhir ran out of patience, Sehwag wasn’t even patient enough to grind it out as he played a dozen deliveries before trying to give Permaul the charge only to get stumped in the process.
All India ‘A’ wickets fell to opposition left-arm spinners as Nikita Miller accounted for Pujara after he shared a 60-run second wicket partnership with Jagadeesh.
Amidst the fall of big guns, Jagadeesh admirably put a price tag on his wicket adding 77 runs for the unbroken fourth wicket stand with Nayar.
Jagadeesh brought his 12th first-class half-century by playing Permaul on the on-side for two runs after he had faced 98 balls with seven hits to the fence.
Nayar’s approach was in contrast with Jagadeesh. He meant business straightaway and unleashed an array of shots.
The Mumbai all-rounder, who is in supreme form, did not lose the opportunity coming his way and breezed to his fifty in just 28 balls with seven boundaries and a six.
For West Indies, Permaul and Miller finished with figures of two for 60 and one for 43, respectively.
Earlier, left-arm spinner Bharghav Bhatt came up with a career-best seven-wicket haul but that could not stop West Indies A from piling up 406 all out in their first innings at lunch.
Overnight batsmen Leon Johnson and Nikita Miller poured cold water on the Indian bowlers’ hopes of making early inroads in morning session.
They batted aggressively with some magnificent hits to the fence. It was Johnson who frustrated the home team the most as he put up a 97-run partnership for the seventh wicket with Miller (64 not out) on a pitch which was on the slower side.
Cummins was the last man out, who was cleaned up by Bhatt, which gave him his seventh wicket of the match so far.
Resuming at the overnight score of 283 for six, Johnson and Miller began their innings aggressively, hardly giving any chance to Indian bowlers to take advantage of the morning conditions.
No Indian bowler impressed on a pitch which was a bit on the slower side, but Bhatt made the cut by taking all the four remaining wickets, ending with career-best bowling figures.
After he picked up Johnson’s wicket, the Baroda lad quickly wound up the West Indies innings by removing Veerasammy Permaul (0), Fidel Edwards (1) and Cummins (0).