Principal Correspondent

Rajkot: Clear skies greeted the players as the India ‘A’ and South Africa ‘A’ teams arrived at the Madhavrao Scindia Stadium here on Saturday afternoon. A pitch promising runs, a smooth outfield and the absence of cloud cover have been cause for cheer amidst the players as they gear up for the third and final one-dayer, scheduled for Sunday.

After rains washed out the first two one-dayers at Ahmedabad and Vadodara, the teams have been itching for a game. “Glad to have a game at last. We have been just sitting around for the last 15 days due to the weather. The pitch here looks good and 250 should be the bare minimum total though we might have something in excess of that,” said Boeta Dippenaar, the South Africa ‘A’ skipper.

Meanwhile for India ‘A’ captain Mohammad Kaif, even the nets on the match’s eve was a welcome sign. “We have been training all these days but missed out on the nets. The South Africans are a good side, with a few players from their Twenty20 squad joining them here and this virtually is a final for us,” Kaif said.

Curator Dhiraj Parsanna termed the pitch as a belter. “The lush outfield and a flat pitch promise runs and 300 plus is possible,” Parsanna said.

The teams (from): India ‘A’: Mohammad Kaif (captain), Parthiv Patel (vice-captain), C. Pujara, Karan Goel, Manoj Tiwary, S. Raina, S. Badrinath, Praveen Kumar, P. Ojha, Ishant Sharma, Yomahesh, Pankaj Singh, Arjun Yadav, Abhishek Nayar and Anirudha Srikkanth. Coach: Paras Mhambrey.

South Africa ‘A’: B. Dippenaar (captain), Morne Van Wyk, Albie Morkel, G. Bodi, R. Kleinveldt, Johan Botha, T. Tsolekile, Vernon Philander, A. Petersen, Thandi Tshabalala, Charl Langeveldt, and Justin Ontong. Coach: M. Barney.

Umpires: A.Y. Gokhale and S.D. Ranade; Third umpire: R.Y. Deshmukh; Match referee: Rajendra Jadeja.

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