It all happened in a hurry shortly after lunch. A laboured afternoon of cricket had looked in store until Zaheer Khan sprang into action out of nowhere and the West Indies ‘A’ innings unravelled.
In a bristling three-over-spell, Zaheer knocked over three batsmen as the visitor fell to defeat by an innings and 54 runs at the KSCA Stadium here on Saturday. India ‘A’ thus levelled the three-match series 1-1.
The final morning of the tour had begun with West Indies ‘A’ three men down and 180 runs behind. Narsingh Deonarine and Assad Fudadin had kept the home side at bay for an hour on the third evening; so all hope was not lost.
The West Indian resistance, though, fell 10 overs in; Abhishek Nayar broke through, removing Fudadin and Jonathan Carter in the space of half an hour.
West Indies ‘A’ went to lunch five down but Deonarine, who had driven the bowlers convincingly, looked entrenched. On resumption, the Guyanese batsman edged behind; only Dhawal Kulkarni had overstepped. Deonarine inched towards his hundred until Cheteshwar Pujara brought Zaheer on, eight overs after lunch.
Hitherto in the series, the left-armer had returned figures of three for 126 from three innings. In Hubli, he had neither looked incisive nor confident. But all that changed with his fourth spell.
A full delivery from Zaheer moved a shade away from Deonarine; the batsman, on 99, lost his off-stump. At the other end, Nikita Miller, who had added 69 runs in Deonarine’s company, pointlessly lobbed Bhargav Bhatt straight into the hands of mid-off.
The wicket-keeper Jahmar Hamilton was too badly hurt to bat, so out came Ashley Nurse. Zaheer, tail now up, sent his off-stump flying in the next over. When the 35-year-old cleaned up Miguel Cummins to finish with four for 59, it was all over.
West Indies ‘A’ had lost four for eight in 14 balls, and with it the match.
West Indies ‘A’ – 1st innings: 268.
India ‘A’ – 1st innings: 564 for nine decl.
West Indies ‘A’ – 2nd innings: Kraigg Brathwaite lbw b Pandey 21 (53b, 2x4), Kieran Powell lbw b Zaheer 6 (11b), Leon Johnson b Kulkarni 1 (2b), Narsingh Deonarine b Zaheer 99 (180b, 13x4), Assad Fudadin c Kaul b Nayar 49 (101b, 5x4), Jonathan Carter b Nayar 12 (17b, 3x4), Nikita Miller c Dogra b Bhatt 17 (73b, 2x4), Ashley Nurse b Zaheer 0 (3b), Delorn Johnson (not out) 0 (5b), Miguel Cummins b Zaheer 4 (4b, 1x4), Jahmar Hamilton (absent hurt); Extras (b-16, lb-9, w-1, nb-7): 33; Total (for nine wkts. in 73.5 overs): 242.
Fall of wickets: 1-17 (Powell), 2-18 (L. Johnson), 3-57 (Brathwaite), 4-139 (Fudadin), 5-165 (Carter), 6-234 (Deonarine), 7-234 (Miller), 8-234 (Nurse), 9-242 (Cummins).
India ‘A’ bowling: Zaheer 16.5-3-59-4, Kulkarni 17-4-38-1, Nayar 16-2-45-2, I. Pandey 11-3-38-1, Sehwag 9-1-28-0, Bhatt 4-2-9-1.