After losing the toss in the first unofficial Test against South Africa A, India A’s pace bowlers put on a strong performance to give the hosts a clear advantage on Saturday (August 4). The visitors were 246 for 8 at stumps, hurting from the loss of their most impressive batsman – Rudi Second – just before the close.
Right-arm pacer Mohammed Siraj had set the tone in the morning with an impressive spell up front. He got rid of Pieter Malan and Zubayr Hamza by the seventh over. From the other end, while not picking up wickets, Navdeep Saini kept up the pressure too. The back-up was equally good from Rajneesh Gurbani who probed away and broke the concentration of opening batsman Sarel Arwee for 47. This was after he had nipped out opposition skipper Khaya Zondo on a track which had a little bit in it.
At 93 for 4, South Africa A were in real trouble. That’s when wicketkeeper-batsman Second walked in and started putting some pressure back with his shots. He put on 59 runs for the fifth wicket along with Senuran Muthusamy who, like many of his teammates, threw away a start. But Second wasn’t to be deterred. He milked whatever support he found at the other end and took the visitors out of a big hole. However, just when he was nearing his hundred, Siraj had him caught-behind to consolidate India’s upper hand.
While the pacers seemed to be on top of their game, India’s spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel didn’t really get enough out of the pitch and are yet to have the desired impact.