The constant shuffle of Indian feet towards the pavilion, the exultation of men from the Caribbean and the crowd drawing some joy in watching Manpreet Juneja’s (70) plucky resistance were the primary visuals from the Gangothri Glades ground here on Saturday.
Having declared at the overnight score of 130 for three to set India ‘A’ a second-innings target of 315, West Indies ‘A’ did well to execute the second-half of its plan — bowling out the host. When Juneja finally fell to left-arm spinner Nikita Miller’s persistence at 3.08 p.m., the mission was accomplished and West Indies ‘A’ won by 162 runs to gain a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
India ‘A’ was bowled out for 152. The morning witnessed a weird mix of tentativeness and middling fluency from the India ‘A’ top-order. Miller (five for 40) opened the attack and bowled unchanged from the Hunsur Road End till lunch, while his colleagues swapped their spells from the Coffee Board End. Later on on the fourth and final day, Miller also changed ends and continued to reap his rewards. Openers K.L. Rahul and Jiwanjot Singh essayed crisp drives against the pacers — Miguel Cummins and Leon Johnson — but remained guarded against spin. The tense mindset unhinged the duo and skipper Cheteshwar Pujara. Miller and fellow left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul raced through their overs and India ‘A’ gasped with a lunch score of 62 for three. Juneja then lent a rebellious streak to an afternoon of diffidence. Dropped on two by wicketkeeper Chadwick Walton off Permaul, Juneja maintained a steady trot.
A six off Narsingh Deonarine was a scalding shot, but with a wilting support-cast, there was nothing much Juneja could do to avert defeat.
The scores: West Indies ‘A’ — 1st innings: 429 in 135 overs.
India ‘A’ — 1st innings: 245 in 95.3 overs.
West Indies ‘A’ — 2nd innings: 130 for three wkts. decl., in 34.5 overs.
India ‘A’ — 2nd innings: Lokesh Rahul c Leon Johnson b Miller 9 ( 42b, 1x4 ), Jiwanjot Singh c Edwards b Permaul 24 ( 78b, 3x4 ), Cheteshwar Pujara lbw b Miller 17 ( 64b, 1x4 ), Manpreet Juneja lbw b Miller 70 ( 193b, 4x4, 1x6 ), Rohit Motwani lbw b Deonarine 11 ( 46b, 1x4 ), Harshad Khadiwale c & b Deonarine 2 ( 10b ), Rajat Paliwal c Brathwaite b Miller 2 ( 27b ), Parvez Rasool b Permaul 11 ( 20b, 2x4 ), Mohammed Shami c Edwards b Miller 4 ( 11b, 1x4 ), Ishwar Pandey c Brathwaite b Permaul 0 ( 20b ), Ashoke Dinda (not out) 2 ( 3b ); Total (in 85.4 overs): 152.
Fall of wickets: 1-18 (Rahul), 2-46 (Jiwanjot), 3-62 (Pujara), 4-84 (Motwani), 5-90 (Khadiwale), 6-115 (Paliwal), 7-140 (Rasool), 8-145 (Shami), 9-150 (Pandey).
West Indies ‘A’ bowling: Nikita Miller 36.4-16-40-5, Miguel Cummins 7-0-15-0, Delorn Johnson 2-0-12-0, Veerasammy Permaul 29-6-56-3, Narsingh Deonarine 11-0-29-2.