India A v New Zealand A, first unofficial Test, 2nd day August 29, 2013

New Zealand A strike after Ronchi ton

ESPNcricinfo staff

India A 6 for 1 (Astle 1-4) trail New Zealand A 310 (Ronchi 125, Astle 63, Saxena 6-106) by 304 runs

A counterattacking century from Luke Ronchi helped New Zealand A recover from a precarious position and post a strong first-innings total in the first unofficial Test against India A in Visakhapatnman. New Zealand had been reduced to 106 for 6 at one stage, but Ronchi struck a total of 16 fours and four sixes during his 110-ball 125, and added 146 for the seventh wicket with Todd Astle to help the team recover to 310.

After the first day's play was called off due to rain, India began the second positively, and got opener Neil Broom run-out in the seventh over. The New Zealand batsmen tried to stabilise, but found it difficult to negotiate the offspin of Jalaj Saxena, who demolished the top order, dismissing Tom Latham, Carl Cachopa and Daryl Mitchell in quick succession to strengthen India's position.

Ronchi started the recovery job with a 50-run fifth-wicket stand with Jimmy Neesham, but two quick wickets soon after New Zealand crossed the 100-mark pushed the visitors to the brink. Neesham was caught by Unmukt Chand off Rakesh Dhurv for 27 in the 28th over, and in the very next, Saxena caught Derek de Boorder for a duck off his own bowling.

However, Ronchi and Astle turned the game around by batting for the next 32 overs. Ronchi upped the scoring and eventually finished his innings at a strike-rate of 113.63. He was well-complemented by Astle, who played the more patient hand, hitting seven fours during his 157-ball 63.

Medium-pacer Dhawal Kulkarni finally got the breakthrough for India by trapping Ronchi lbw in the 62nd over, but Mark Gillespie, batting at No. 11, gave the innings a final push by smashing three sixes during his 11-ball 21 to take New Zealand past 300. Saxena eventually finished with six wickets, but proved to be expensive, conceding 106 runs in 22.4 overs.

The day was to get worse for India, as Unmukt Chand, who had shone with the bat in the recently concluded Emerging Teams Cup in Singapore, was caught behind by de Booder off Astle in the second over to leave India at 6 for 1, still 304 runs behind.

Speaking after play, Ronchi said his team were in a fine position going into the final day, though the pitch was flat: "It was really good to make some runs from a personal point of view, but with the position we were in it was good to have a partnership there with Toddy. I think we're in a fantastic position with 300 on the board and them one down overnight. Now we've just got to focus on bowling well on a flat wicket and take our opportunities."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ashok on August 30, 2013, 13:33 GMT

    The 3rd day's play resulted in brilliant centuries by Vijay Zol & Nayar. Zol has become Mr. Consistent & hopefully he will get an early break into Test Cricket unlike Pujara's belated selection for India. Zol has a sound technique, good stroke play & immense urge not to give away his wicket easily. Jiwanjot Singh, Chand & Rahul are 3 other youngsters who will be knocking at the door for the opening batsman's spot. Hopefully all these talented youngsters will play for India sooner than later. Bowling still seems to be the one area where India is lagging their own batting talent. In this match Jalal Saxena came up with 6 for--. The rest of the bowling was below average. There were no great finds from India A S.African tour either. Pandey, Rasool & Nadeem were the only 3 half decent bowlers. Mohit Sharma was the emerging talent from Zimbabwe tour along with A.Mishra. Will Pandey, Mohit Sharma & Mishra + Zol & Chand, be in the Indian squad for SA Tour? Their form must be exploited fully.

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2013, 13:09 GMT

    I have big hopes from zol,looks a fantastic player and more importantly very consistent. chand on the other hand played well at jr level but finding it very hard at FC level.He also struggeled in IPL bcoz there were glaring technical defficiency in his batting.

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2013, 13:05 GMT

    ZOL's talent is shining brightly

  • Santosh on August 30, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    this is really amazing. We have two completely different A sides, one which played in SA, and another one which is playing NZ. Both teams are doing great, and will have headaches in a happy way when picking a squad for international assignments.

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2013, 10:45 GMT

    Abhishek Nayar who had stupendous run in last year's Ranji trophy continues his purple patch.He also is good military medium bowler and can be useful on South African wickets as well as against England next year.he can be a back up seamer.Good that selectors have shown faith in him.

  • Siddarth on August 30, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    There are some youngsters here that really need to given some opportunities to train with the Indian Senior Squad. Unmukt Chand - needs help to ensure that he is consistent; Vijay Zol - has been prolific in his scoring over this season and definitely must be picked even if its at a young age + he just made his 1st century (age should not be a barrier as Tendulkar and Kambli proved at their debuts); IC Pandey and Jalag Saxena both need a stint with the team as well; B. Aparajith as the all-rounder based on his abilities is showing great promise. India should pick players at this young age based on ability and promise. Exposure very early on is absolutely critical to continue the skills development, especially for Chand, Zol, Aparajith. When these kids are in form and showing great ability, they need to continuously be challenged. Nothing to do with catapulting young talent prematurely NOR is it about Ad campaigns, BUT merely recognising that talent needs nurturing and recognition.

  • Sandip on August 30, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    When I wrote about Vijay Zol few days back, it was termed as regional biased views. Few were so critics about him that they relates this being Maharashtrian. IND has few players who played exceptionally in overseas conditions. Vijay Zol was outstanding in down under as well as in island & in both short-long formats. He made debut in FC today after representing in U19 so far. He has reached his milestone now & made a hundred on debut. Player's calibre is judged by his skill, technique & temperament to hang on there as long as possible which makes flow of runs automatically from the bat. Vijay Zol is one of them. He should be selected in every A tour for getting more & more precious international experience.

  • Santosh on August 30, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    Good time for MP players...IC Pandey and Jalaj...outstanding performance. Lets see if these are given enough chances to prove themselves.

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    @Jared Hansen . I share your sentiments about Ronchi. I have seen him playing in India, including some of his practice sessions. It is a surprise, that he is not getting into the NZ Test team. All good T-20 players need NOT be bad TEST players! Though, the converse, quite often, turns out out be true!

    I feel the same way about the side-lining of Todd Astle, who has the making of a decent all-rounder. After playing him in just ONE disastrous test ( 2 runs & 1 wicket) he was sidelined. ONE test is too short a period to try and discard a player, especially a talented one!

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster. Agree with you. Unmukth Chand is NOT Virat Kohli! Their talents are NOT at the same level. Let him play domestic cricket, prove, and come up through the ranks. How fast he comes up, depends entirely on him!

    We should stop this disastrous habit of catapulting very young talent, prematurely on to a pedestal. The Ad industry do the remaining part of the damage, too!