The 2nd four-day unofficial Test between India A and West Indies A ended in a dull draw as Kraigg Brathwaite completed his century, the first of the match at Jawaharlal Nehru National College of Engineering Ground in Shimoga.
The city was hosting only its fourth first-class match, but saw only an extended practice session of sorts with the pitch being perfect for batsmen to make merry. The result was a foregone conclusion on the third day itself when India A finished its innings 47 runs behind the visitors’ first-innings score of 406.
West Indies, leading the series 1-0, started off the final day’s play 75 runs ahead and were determined to take advantage of a full day’s play of batting.
However, in the 3rd over of the day, Indian senior pacer Zaheer Khan, eyeing a comeback to the national team, got left-hander Kieran Powell to edge behind the wicket to the keeper when he was on 14. Hero with the ball in the first innings, slow left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt struck next when in the following over, he caught Kirk Edwards plumb in front of the wicket.
However, at 43/2 in 18 overs, Brathwaite and Narsingh Deonarine denied the bowlers any further scalps as they settled down to play out the day for a draw.
A 144-run partnership later, Deonarine departed on 93 when he became the 2nd victim of Bhatt, trapped in front of the wicket again.
Brathwaite however, completed his 4th first-class century, finishing with the score of 104* (247, 15 fours).
Ex-Indian regulars Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan were the focus players in this match for India; while Sehwag and Gamhir scored just 7 and 11 respectively, Zak finished with match figures of 33-9-93-2, with a wicket in each innings.
The trio won’t be satisfied with their performances in this match, but the good thing for Zaheer at least, was the absence of any physical breakdown. However, he still has a long path to travel for a call-up to the Indian Test side.
The positives for India from this match will be Bhargav Bhatt’s 7-wicket haul in the first innings and Abhinav Nayar’s quickfire 89. Nayar, in particular, has been in good form of late, having scored a couple of good knocks for India Blue in the recently concluded Challenger Trophy.
The 3rd unofficial Test will commence in Hubli, Karnataka from 9th October.
West Indies A – 406 (Leon Johnson 91, Kraigg Brathwaite 82; Bhargav Bhatt 7/113) and 223/3 (Kraigg Brathwaite 104*, Narsingh Deonarine 93; Bhargav Bhatt 2/104)
India A 359 all out (Abhishek Nayar 89, VA Jagadeesh 86; Miguel Cummins 3/58)
Result: Match drawn