Brathwaite, Fudadin click on meandering day
West Indies A 283 for 6 (Brathwaite 82, Fudadin 63, Bhatt 3-76) v India A
An enthusiastic holiday crowd of over 10,000 packed under - and on - the trees that surround the cricket ground of Shimoga's Jawaharlal Nehru College of Engineering, but what happened on the field of play didn't match their enthusiasm. The pitch was pancake flat and slow, the disheartened India A bowling a little listless, and the fielding poor. However, West Indies A balanced it out by throwing away wickets, not taking full advantage of three dropped catches, and failing to convert two half-centuries into hundreds. They ended at 283 for 6 with Kraigg Brathwaite and Assad Fudadin scoring fifties, and Leon Johnson and Chadwick Walton cushioning the blow of two quick wickets with a 68-run partnership for the sixth wicket.
The day began with pleasantries for West Indies A. First they won the toss on the benign pitch, and then as they waited to go out to bat they were treated to a rendition of "Rally Round the West Indies". Similarly hospitable bowling followed from Mohammed Shami and Zaheer Khan, who couldn't manage movement in the air. There wasn't going to be much off the pitch anyway. The openers got through the quicks' opening spell without having to play at many deliveries.
Against spin, though, Kieran Powell and captain Kirk Edwards lost their heads. Powell holed out to cow corner, and Edwards walked past one soon after he was dropped and hit a six off left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt. Narsinh Deonarine played across the line to Zaheer, and was given out lbw.
West Indies A had gone from 55 for 1 to 98 for 3, but Brathwaite wasn't about to lose his mind. He ground the runs out with the spinners - Bhatt and Parvez Rasool offered enough cutting and driving opportunities, sometimes off successive deliveries. Fudadin wasn't as alert as Bratwaite, but he was dropped by VA Jagadeesh and Mohammad Kaif on 12 and 27 at square gully and backward point. Abhishek Nayar and Shami were the unfortunate bowlers.
Either side of tea, the two added 117 runs. After the drops, the game settled into a lethargic little stroll with easy runs for the two. Zaheer bowled a third spell, but wasn't effective. After Zaheer was taken off after two overs in that spell, spin came on at both ends, and pretty much only a mistake was going to get any batsman out. The mistakes duly arrived. Fudadin fell lbw while sweeping Bhatt, and Brathwaite edged to the keeper while cutting Rasool.
The twin breakthrough didn't buoy India A enough to overcome conditions, and Johnson and Walton began to accumulate runs again. Both of them showed preference for clearing the infield, and kept managing to find vacant spaces to put the ball in. Johnson did that five times in one Rasool over, taking 20 off it. He ended the day unbeaten on 36.
India A didn't claim the new ball, but in the 88th over of the day Walton handed them fillip by trying to square-drive a wide ball and offering Uday Kaul an easy catch.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo