Skipper Cheteshwar Pujara led from the front with a big hundred as India ‘A’ made an impressive start to the first of their two unofficial Tests against South Africa ‘A’.
Pujara, having elected to bat at the Olympia Park, Rustengerb, struck 140 runs as the team reached 281-3 on Day 1. Giving him steady company through the day was Rohit Sharma, unbeaten on 70 at stumps. Their partnership of 176 was broken shortly before stumps when Pujara fell to Wayne Parnell.
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Overcoming the early loss of Shikhar Dhawan, Pujara had a 66-run stand with Murali Vijay (44, 115b) and the Indian scoring rate was quite slow in the first session.
They made just 68-1 in the opening session after Dhawan was caught at first slip off off-spinner Simon Harmer.
Shortly after lunch, Vijay was caught, also in the slips off seamer Andrew Birch. Rohit and Pujara batted steadily through the noon session, taking India to 140-2 at tea.
The scoring rate picked up dramatically in the evening session with the Indians adding 141 runs in just 33 overs. Birch and Harmer continued to bowl extensively after the tea session and the two Indians scored easily off them.
Pujara completed his 21st First Class hundred shortly after tea. The captain played with a degree of freedom after the milestone, scoring 40 quick runs in 35 balls before he was bowled by Parnell six overs before stumps.
At stumps Ajinkya Rahane was batting with Rohit.
This is a four-day game in which South Africa ‘A’ are being led by the 33-year-old Justin Ontong.
S Dhawan c Hendricks b Harmer 11 (46B, 1X6)
M Vijay c Harmer b Birch 44 (115B, 6X4 1X6)
C Pujara b Parnell 140 (205B, 17X4)
R Sharma not out 70 (159, 8X4 1X6)
A Rahane not out 11 (16B, 1X4)
Extras (b-3, lb-1, nb-1) 5
Total (3 wickets; 90 overs) 281
To bat SK Raina, WP Saha†, Mohammed Shami, S Nadeem, IC Pandey, JD Unadkat
Fall of wickets: 1-28 (Dhawan, 16.6 overs), 2-94 (Vijay, 37.4 overs), 3-270 (Pujara, 83.5 overs)
Bowling: K Abbott 17-7-43-0, W Parnell-18-6-47-1, A Birch-19-5-42-1, S Harmer-25-2-88-1, J Duminy-5-0-26-0, J Ontong-3-0-16-0, D Elgar-3-0-15-0.