West Indies A ride on Edwards ton to win series

Bangalore, Sep 19 (IANS) A timely century by Kirk Edwards (104, 104b, 12x4, 3x6) propelled West Indies A to a deserving 45-run, series-clinching victory against India A here at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium Thursday.

As in the previous game, put in to bat, West Indies A made the most of the opportunity to pile up 312/9 in their 50 overs with the 28-year-old Edwards guiding the innings.

In reply, the Indians faltered after skipper Yuvraj Singh (61, 59b, 4x4, 3x6) and opener Baba Aparajith (78, 96b, 6x4, 1x6) put on 112 runs for the third wicket to finish on 267/8.

The victory helped the Caribbean side clinch the series 2-1 after they came back from 0-1 down. The Indians promised a lot but delivered little in a series the hosts were expected to win. The teams meet again Saturday for a one-off Twenty20 bash.

For the second game running, India A, depending on Yuvraj, failed under pressure. Barring left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat, who came away with a five-wicket haul, none of the other bowlers looked the part and to make matters worse, the batsmen too fumbled in sharp contrast to West Indies A, who showed greater discipline and character.

With opener Robin Uthappa (27) and Naman Ojha (0) failing early in the chase, it was left to Yuvraj and Aparajith to rebuild the innings. Until the pair was at the crease, the Indians looked to be in the hunt but after their dismissals, it was a procession though Vinay Kumar (37 not out) offered some resistance that, however, did not impact the outcome.

While Yuvraj was at his fluent best from the start to carve out a splendid half-century, Aparajith was fortunate as he was given not out after gloving a catch and then seeing Fletcher pouching a lofted shot but crossing the rope to concede a six.

Yuvraj fell to offie Ashley Nurse while Aparajith had his stumps rattled by left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul. With the pressure mounting and injured Mandeep Singh unable to bat, India's goose was well and truly cooked as West Indies A made further inroads.

The West Indies A innings was as much about Edwards' century as the four key partnerships that helped them cross the 300-run mark, aided by some sloppy bowling and fielding by the Indians.

No.3 batsman Edwards held the innings together with a knock that grew in stature as he settled down to bat most responsibly. While the Indian bowling tended to be a bit of fodder, Edwards never hesitated to improvise once he got into his groove.

But it was the openers Andrew Fletcher (28) and skipper Kieran Powell (40) who laid the foundation with a 74-run partnership and though the duo departed in quick succession, others who followed carried on the good work.

Edwards and Jonathan Carter (35), fresh from a century in the previous game, added 66 runs for the third wicket in 13 overs. The partnership could have blossomed even further but Carter paid the price for rush of blood as he missed a wild heave to be bowled by Aparajith.

Edwards then found an able partner in Johnson. The pair got stuck in another major partnership that was worth 93 in 13.2 overs. This was the period when the Indian bowling slackened and the runs flowed quite freely.

Unadkat finally broke the partnership by inducing a mistimed shot from Johnson and in his next over, sent back Andre Russell who swung and missed.

Despite the two setbacks, the innings jetted further as Edwards and Devon Thomas (21) put on 40 in just 21 balls for the sixth wicket with 23 coming off seamer Siddarth Kaul's over. Edwards duly completed his century and carried on a while longer to ensure a big total for his side.

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