Shoddy batting by India 'A'

India `A' batsman Ajay Ratra looks back to see his stumps uprooted off the bowling of L. Malinga of Sri Lanka `A' on day two of the `Test' in Mumbai on Sunday. — Photo: Vivek Bendre

India `A' batsman Ajay Ratra looks back to see his stumps uprooted off the bowling of L. Malinga of Sri Lanka `A' on day two of the `Test' in Mumbai on Sunday. — Photo: Vivek Bendre  

Mumbai Dec. 7. Peculiar events took place at the Brabourne Stadium on Sunday leaving India `A' coach Sandeep Patil concerned at another shoddy performance by India's batsmen. Playing below par India `A', behind by 54 runs, folded up for a paltry 206 in its second innings to position Sri Lanka `A' as a prospective winner of the third `Test'. The visitor needs 153 for victory to level the series. "Thirty wickets have fallen on a good pitch. It's all because of poor batting,'' said Patil. Thanks to Hemang Badani's plucky 49 in two hours, the home team was able to post a modest total. The Tamil Nadu left hander began the season notching a century for India `A' against New Zealand with a broken hand and then scored a half century at Motera against the Lankans when down with a viral infection.

Food poisoning forced him out of the team at Pune and here he hobbled on to the middle with Shiv Sundar Das as runner and the team at 109 for five. He had sprained his ankle in the `nets' and did not take the field on the second day. Badani faced 81 balls, struck seven fours and helped the last five wickets raise 97 valuable runs.

Earlier the dingdong battle between the two teams continued with the India `A' seamers striking it rich in the first session. Amit Bhandari bowled a robust first spell to add three more to his 13 from the previous two Tests and Siddharth Trivedi broke the resistance of the Sri Lanka `A' tail taking three wickets in a single over.

The visitor's total might have been much less had Gautam Gambhir held a sitter at cover of Thilana Kandamby off Bhandari when the Sri Lankan had just opened his account. Kandamby made the most of it to make 60.

India `A' lost Gambhir and Mohammad Kaif before the lead had been wiped out. Ambati Rayudu offered a flicker of hope, before falling to the Lankan pace attack.

"What's important is playing good cricket and I must say my team did not bat well enough in both innings. I hope they fight back and defend 152 tomorrow,'' said Patil who was also upset at Bhandari's show of pique when umpire H. Sekhon rejected an appeal against Thilana Paranavithana. Bhandari was confident the left hander had nicked to Ajay Ratra, but the umpire was not.

The scores: India `A' — 1st innings: 172

Sri Lanka `A' — 1st innings: T. Paranavithana lbw b Kartik 18, I. Daniels c Ratra b Trivedi 10, J. Mubarak c Rayudu b Kartik 12, N. Nawaz c Das b Bhandari 47, P. Jayawardane lbw b Kartik 6, A. Pollonowita b Bhandari 42, T. Kandamby c (sub) Sriram b Trivedi 60, R. Herath c Ratra b Bhandari 0, O. Wijesiriwardane b Trivedi 22, L. Malinga b Trivedi 0, T. Lakshitha (not out) 3, Extras: (lb-4, nb-2) 6, Total: 226.

Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-32, 3-43, 4-69, 5-136, 6-149, 7-161, 8-223, 9-223.

India `A' bowling: Trivedi 11-5-23-4, Bhandari 18-5-55-3, Kartik 23-3-78-3, Mishra 13-0-62-0, Rayudu 1-0-4-0.

India `A' — 2nd innings: S.S. Das (run out) 19, G. Gambhir lbw b Lakshitha 18, M. Kaif c Jayawardane b Wijesiriwardane 4, A. Rayudu c Jayawardane b Malinga 34, R. Gavaskar c Mubarak b Herath 12, A. Ratra b Malinga 13, H. Badani lbw b Lakshitha 49, M. Kartik (run out) 12, A. Mishra c Jayawardane b Wijesiriwardane 1, S. Trivedi c Jayawardane b Lakshitha 19, A. Bhandari (not out) 6, Extras: (lb-7, nb-12) 19, Total: 206.

Fall of wickets: 1-33, 2-50, 3-58, 4-81, 5-109, 6-122, 7-147, 8-152, 9-196.

Sri Lanka `A' bowling: Lakshitha 14.1-2-39-3, Malinga 11-3-37-2, Herath 20-4-73-1, Wijesiriwardane 11-3-31-2, Kandamby 1-0-10-0, Mubarak 5-0-9-0.

Sri Lanka `A' — 2nd innings: T. Paranavithana (batting) 6, I. Daniels (batting) 0, Total (for no loss) 6.

India `A' bowling: Bhandari 1-0-6-0.

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