Luke Ronchi’s dashing century pulled New Zealand ‘A’ back from the brink after India ‘A’ off-spinner Jalaj Saxena had the visitors in all sorts of trouble on day two of their three-day match at the Port stadium here on Thursday.

Saxena finished with six for 106 in New Zealand ‘A’s total of 310 — thanks to Ronchi (125, 102b, 186m, 16x4, 4x6) and the 146 runs he added for the seventh wicket with Todd Astle (63, 157b, 188m, 7x4).

Bright sun in the morning — after the first day was lost to rain — meant the match commenced at 11 a.m. New Zealand, electing to bat, found Saxena difficult to deal with.

“On a flat wicket I had to control the batsmen with line and beat them with variation,” said Saxena later.

Saxena picked up Tom Latham, Carl Cachopa and Daryl Mitchell while opener Neil Broom was run out, leaving New Zealand struggling at 55 for four.

Ronchi stemmed the rot by adding 50 with James Neeham. The visitors then lost two wickets for two runs before Ronchi and Astle pulled the team around again.

Ronchi reached his 50 with a six over long-on off Rakesh Dhruv. He also stuck three 4s off a Sarabjeet Ladda over; slammed two fours and a six off Aniket Choudhary and hit a four and a six off Abhishek Nayar.

The fireworks were witnessed by a few dozen spectators and the nearly 200 police personnel deployed following a threat to disrupt the match by Samaikyandhra agitators.

India ‘A’ lost Unmukt Chand to finish the day at six for one. Jiwanjyot Singh and Sarabjeet Ladda are at the crease.

The scores: New Zealand A 310 in 77.3 overs (Luke Ronchi 125, Todd Astle 63, Jamesh Neesham 27, Jalaj S. Saxena six for 196) vs. India A six for no loss in 13 overs.

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