Saxena stars as India 'A' go one up in unofficial Test series

Jalaj Saxena
Jalaj Saxena shone with both the ball and bat for India 'A'. File photo
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Thiruvananthapuram: India 'A' defeated South Africa 'A' by seven wickets on the final day morning of the first unofficial Test to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series here on Thursday.

Mumbai all-rounder Shivam Dube smashed two sixes off successive balls to seal the win for the hosts.

Chasing just 48 runs in their second innings, India 'A' suffered a mild stutter as skipper Shubman Gill (5), Ankit Bawne (6) and K S Bharat (5) fell in early before Dube (12 not out) and Ricky Bhui (20 not out) completed the formalities for the home team.

South Africa 'A' fast bowler Lungi Ngidi, on a comeback trail after injury, bowled Gill, who made a classy 90 in the first innings to leave India 'A' at 10/1.

Bawne was then dismissed for a 17-ball 6, caught by Senuran Muthusamy off Ngidi, while Bharat, who is contention for a spot as the back-up wicketkeeper in the Test squad, was sent back by off-spinner Dane Piedt.

Left-handed Dube, who had showcased his hitting abilities in the unofficial ODI series preceding the Test matches, smacked Piedt for two huge sixes to finish the job in style.

Resuming at the overnight score of 179/9, South Africa 'A' were bowled out for 186 in their second innings as the hosts needed only 3.5 overs to wrap things up. Shardul Thakur bowled Lutho Sipamla for eight to finish with figures of 2/31.

Spinners Shahbaz Nadeem (3/17) and Jalaj Saxena (2/22) were the best bowlers for India 'A' in the second innings.

Only 20 overs were possible at the Greenfield stadium on Wednesday due to overnight rains and a wet outfield, but India 'A' snatched four wickets to edge close to victory.

Gill and all-rounder Saxena (61 not out) had helped India 'A' make 303 in reply to the visiting team's first innings score of 164.

Brief sores: South Africa 'A': 164 and 186 in 58.2 overs (Zubayr Hamza 44, Heinrich Klaasen 48, Wiaan Mulder 46; Shahbaz Nadeem 3/17) lost to India 'A': 303 in 87.5 overs (Shubman Gill 90, Jalaj Saxena 61 not out, Shardul Thakur 34; Lungi Ngidi 3/50, Dane Piedt 3/84) and 49/3 in 9.4 overs.

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