Cricket

Rahul, Easwaran take the sting out of Lions’ attack

In good form: India-A’s Abhimanyu Easwaran played solidly to notch up a century.

In good form: India-A’s Abhimanyu Easwaran played solidly to notch up a century.  

Their 178-run partnership for the opening wicket puts India-A on a sound footing

Abhimanya Easwaran stood tall to score a fluent 117 (222b, 13x4, 1x6) that saw India-A finish at 282 for three against England Lions on day one of the second ‘Test’ at the SDNRW Grounds here on Wednesday.

It was K.L. Rahul who played like a master in the morning. The stylish opener showed great confidence while dealing pacemen Lewis Gregory and Tom Bailey at the start.

Both the bowlers made the best use of the crosswind conditions and the moisture in the pitch to trouble the Indian openers in the first hour. But, the Indian duo stood the test smartly and, from there, runs flowed from their blades with ease.

Shot selection

Rahul cover drove Gregory off the first ball that he faced after lunch to complete his half-century. He carefully selected his shots and drove and pulled with aplomb but Easwaran preferred to tread a safe path.

Rahul had played a few matches here with a best of 157 here for his State (Karnataka) against Vidarbha in 2012. The good crowd would have hoped to see him score another big ton. But he disappointed them by falling to pacer Zak Chappell for 81. It was a delivery that stood up and Rahul went on the defensive and offered a simple chance to Ollie Pope behind.

But by then he had already stitched a healthy 178-run stand for the opening wicket. Easwaran carried on from there. He knocked the ball around with comfort to race to his century.

More agony

He further piled on the agony of the English bowlers with a 74-run partnership for the second wicket with the in-form Priyank Panchal (50, 88b, 7x4) before going down in a similar fashion as Rahul. But, this time around, the bowler was off-spinner Dominic Bess. Panchal fell later in the day to a ball from Bailey that skidded on to the stumps.

“Getting a 100 for India -A is always special and pleasing,” said Easwaran after the match. He said there was some help for the bowlers. “The hard ball did a bit but we were clever enough to tackle the opening spell,”

For the English men, it was a hard day’s toil. There were some loud shouts for leg before in vain but they returned to the room on a rather sombre note, having picked just three wickets.

The scores:

India-A: K.L. Rahul c Pope b Chappell 81, Abhimanyu Easwaran c Pope b Bess 117, Priyank Panchal b Bailey 50, Karun Nair (batting) 14; Extras (w-2, b-8, lb-10): 20; Total (for three wkts. in 84.5 overs): 282.

Fall of wickets: 1-178, 2-252, 282.

England Lions bowling: Gregory 13-1-52-0, Bailey 18.5-5-46-1, Briggs 9-1-43-0, Chappell 14-4-32-1, Mullaney 12-6-20-0, Bess 18-3-71-1.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 1:51:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/rahul-easwaran-take-the-sting-out-of-lions-attack/article26260551.ece

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