Panchal, Bharat tame Lions in stunning style

Priyank Panchal marathon knock of 206 puts India ‘A’ ahead against England Lions.

Priyank Panchal marathon knock of 206 puts India ‘A’ ahead against England Lions.   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

India ‘A’ declared their innings at 540 for 6 in reply to England Lions’ 340 to gain a massive 200-run lead.

A lot can change in three weeks, and Priyank Panchal is proof.

He had come here mid-January with the reputation of being Gujarat’s run-machine. But in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal against Kerala, he came across a seaming track and a deadly pace attack. He made eight and three.

On his return to the Wayanad Cricket Stadium on Friday, he made up for that in style. He scored a splendid 206 (313b, 26x4, 3x6) to show his class on the third day of the first ‘Test’ against England Lions.

He wasn’t the only home batsman to make merry against a clueless English attack on a lifeless wicket, though. Wicketkeeper K.S. Bharat slammed a cracking 142 off just 139 balls (11x4, 8x6).

Their fifth-wicket stand of 196 helped the host declare at 540 for six — a lead of 200. Batting a second time, the Lions were 20 without loss when bad light and then rain brought a slightly early close to the day’s play. 

The day truly belonged to Panchal and Bharat. It could easily have been K.L. Rahul’s as well, but his attempt to cut left-arm spinner ended up in the hands of substitute Jamie Overton at point.

The opener had added just one to his overnight score of 88; his second-wicket partnership with Panchal was worth 174. In the very next over, Ankeet Bawane was caught well off a rebound from slip by ’keeper Sam Billings off pacer Zak Chappell. 

A little later, Ricky Bhui too perished, to an excellent diving catch at point by Sam Hain off seamer Jamie Porter. After resuming at 219 for one, India-A slid to 262 for four.

Scintillating exhibition

The Lions could not have anticipated the stage was just being set for a scintillating exhibition of strokeplay. Bharat wasted no time in getting going and Panchal, too, accelerated.

The Gujarat opener had got to his hundred with a quick single to mid-on off medium-pacer Steven Mullaney. But his next hundred was completed with a six over long on, off the hapless Briggs.

It was as if he was drawing inspiration from his irrepressible partner. In the previous over, Bharat had reached his hundred upper-cutting Chappell above point.

It was just one of the several neatly executed aerial hits from the Andhra batsman, who, three years ago, had become the first wicketkeeper to score a triple hundred in Ranji Trophy. When he was not hooking and pulling, he was driving sweetly.

First Class milestone

As for Panchal, who completed 1,000 First Class runs for the season, he mixed defence and offence most judiciously.

The scores:

England Lions — 1st Innings: 340.

India-A — 1st Innings: K.L. Rahul c sub (Overton) b Briggs 89, Abhimanyu Easwaran b Chappell 31, Priyank Panchal c Billings b Chappell 206, Ankeet Bawane c Billings b Chappell 0, Ricky Bhui c Hain b Porter 16, K.S. Bharat c sub (Overton) b Briggs 142, Jalaj Saxena (not out) 28, Shardul Thakur (not out) 12, Extras (b-12, lb-4) 16; Total (for six wkts. decl. in 134.5 overs): 540.

Fall of wickets: 1-48, 2-222, 3-223, 4-262, 5-458, 6-524.

England Lions bowling: Porter 23-4-83-1, Gregory 26-7-86-0, Mullaney 25-5-61-0, Chappell 24-2-105-3, Briggs 30.5-2-144-2, Jacks 6-0-45-0.

England Lions — 2nd Innings: Max Holden (batting) 9, Ben Duckett (batting) 9, Extras (b-1, nb-1) 2; Total (for no wkt. in five overs): 20.

India-A bowling: Saini 1-0-1-0, Avesh 1-0-3-0, Saxena 2-0-8-0, Shahbaz 1-0-7-0.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 8:47:56 PM |

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