India A cruised to a comfortable victory against South Africa A in the second unofficial Test at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom to level the two-match series 1-1.
The Indian team had initially taken an advantage but they had let it slip midway through the Test. But eventually, they managed to win by six wickets on the fourth and final day of the Test. A target of 223 in the fourth innings was a competitive one but skipper Karun Nair led the chase with a wonderful 90 off 144 balls to help his team canter home to a victory.
Although it was Nair who had done the trick on the final day, the bowlers had laid the groundwork for the win earlier in the test.
Coming off the back of a huge defeat in the first Test, the second match was always going to be a big test of mentality of the Indian youngsters. Things did not look good as the South African captain Aiden Markram won the toss and elected to bat first.
Markram and Stephen Cook then made merry of perfect batting conditions on the first day as they shared a 167-run partnership. However, both of them were dismissed in quick intervals. A fifty from Omphile Ramela and a crucial contribution from Shaun von Berg helped the Proteas reach 322. Shahbaz Nadeem and Navdeep Saini starred with the ball for India.
The Indians could manage only 276 runs in their first innings and conceded a small but significant lead. Opener Ravikumar Samarth and one-down batsman Shreyas Iyer both scored half-centuries in the first innings with the talented youngster, Dane Piedt, picking up four wickets.
The South Africans looked pretty confident with their lead and the match seemed headed for a draw. At the start of the final day’s play, they were at 138 for 4 with David Miller and Andile Phehlukwayo at the crease.
However, Phehlukwayo fell before the hosts could add a run to their overnight score and from there on, it all went downhill. They lost their final four wickets for just 19 runs and were bundled out for 177.
With a glimmer of victory in sight, India’s openers Samarth and Sudip Chatterjee started on a positive note but the pair was broken soon. Samarth went on to bring up his second half-century of the match before being dismissed by Piedt.
Nair, who had had a disappointing show with the bat in the series, took up the onus of leading the side to a victory. It was Samarth and Nair’s partnership that burned out any possibilities of a Proteas win. Ankit Bawne then played the perfect supporting role to Nair as India coasted to victory.
Brief scores: South Africa A 322 (Stephen Cook 98; Shahbaz Nadeem 4-118) and 177 (Cook 70; Ankit Rajpoot 3-15) lost to India A 276 (R Samarth 77; Dane Piedt 4-70) and 226/4 (Karun Nair 90) by six wickets.