The usually explosive Virender Sehwag fizzled out, but Abhishek Nayar (56 not out off 38 balls) saved the day with some fireworks of his own on day two of the second four-day ‘Test’ between India ‘A’ and West Indies ‘A’ here on Thursday.
The home team finished the day on 191 for three, still trailing the West Indies ‘A’ first innings score by 211.
The crowd at the JNCCE rose to its feet as Sehwag strode down the pavilion at the fall of the second wicket. The 34-year-old, however, made just seven before being stumped off left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul.
An eager, early movement down the pitch was spotted by the bowler, who dropped it short. Sehwag attempted a half-hearted cut, but his back-leg had been dragged out too far.
Much was expected from his Delhi teammate, Gautam Gambhir, but he fell cheaply too. The southpaw tore down the wicket to have a go at Permaul, and an ugly hoick to mid-wicket was smartly held by a sprinting Fidel Edwards.
India middle-order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara departed to an uncharacteristic slog-sweep, and it was the less-heralded duo of V.A. Jagadeesh and Abhishek Nayar who made an impression.
Jagadeesh, who made 91 in his previous first-class innings (against New Zealand ‘A’), made a sedate, unbeaten 79. Nayar, who found the boundary at will in the cover and mid-wicket regions, provided the late sparks.
Earlier, left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt cleaned up the tail — a task which his more established partner Zaheer Khan failed to accomplish — to finish with a seven-wicket haul.
West Indies ‘A’ — 1st innings: Kraigg Brathwaite c Kaul b Rasool 82 (202b, 13x4), Kieran Powell c Kaif b Bhatt 33 (70b, 5x4), Kirk Edwards st Kaul b Bhatt 18 (15b, 2x4, 1x6), Narsingh Deonarine lbw b Zaheer 12 (28b), Assad Fudadin lbw b Bhatt 63 (107b, 7x4), Leon Johnson c & b Bhatt 91 (131b, 16x4), Chadwick Walton c Kaul b Shami 30 (55b, 5x4, 1x6), Nikita Miller (not out) 64 (95b, 8x4), Veerasammy Permaul lbw b Bhatt 0 (4b), Fidel Edwards lbw b Bhatt 2 (19b), Miguel Cummins b Bhatt 0 (13b); Extras (lb-2, w-1, nb-8): 11; Total (in 121.5 overs): 406.
Fall of wickets: 1-55 (Powell), 2-77 (Edwards), 3-98 (Deonarine), 4-215 (Fudadin), 5-215 (Brathwaite), 6-283 (Walton), 7-380 (Johnson), 8-380 (Permaul), 9-390 (Edwards).
India ‘A’ bowling: Zaheer Khan 20-5-66-1, Mohammed Shami 22-2-93-1, Abhishek Nayar 16-4-52-0, Parveez Rasool 33-9-80-1, Bhargav Bhatt 30.5-4-113-7.
India ‘A’ — 1st innings: V.A. Jagadeesh (batting) 79 (172b, 8x4), Gautam Gambhir c Edwards b Permaul 11 (44b, 1x4), Cheteshwar Pujara c Powell b Miller 25 (90b, 1x4), Virender Sehwag st Walton b Permaul 7 (13b, 1x4), Abhishek Nayar (batting) 56 (38b, 7x4, 1x6); Extras (lb-4, nb-9): 13; Total (for three wkts. in 58 overs): 191.
Fall of wickets: 1-44 (Gambhir), 2-104 (Pujara), 3-114 (Sehwag).
West Indies ‘A’ bowling: Fidel Edwards 4-0-30-0, Miguel Cummins 11-4-30-0, Veerasammy Permaul 23-7-60-2, Narsingh Deonarine 7-0-24-0, Nikita Miller 13-1-43-1.