West Indies A v India A, 3rd unofficial Test, day 1, Hubli October 9, 2013

India A quicks dismiss WI A for 268


India A 10 for 0 trail (Jagadeesh 8*, Gambhir 2*) West Indies A 268 (L Johnson 81, Nayar 4-61, Kulkarni 3-60) by 258 runs

All of India A's quicks contributed to justify Cheteshwar Pujara's decision to field, as West Indies A were bowled out for 268. Zaheer Khan didn't have the wickets to show, but there was improvement from Shimoga, both in intensity and in the discomfort he caused the batsmen. The Mumbai duo of Dhawal Kulkarni and Abhishek Nayar took seven wickets between them as West Indies A went from 240 for 5 to 268 all out.

Most of the West Indies A specialist batsmen got starts - Leon Johnson made 81 - but once again they failed to take them further. The most disappointing part for them was that they saw off the new ball when the pitch was moist, and lost wickets when the ball had become soft on a slow surface. "Disappointed after the partnership between myself and [Narsingh] Deonarine," Johnson, who fell nine short of a century in the last match, said. "We shouldn't have lost seven wickets after tea. Not taking anything away from Nayar and Kulkarni who managed to swing the ball even after tea."

This was no demon pitch, but it was expected to be at its most bowler-friendly on the first day. Needing to win this match to level the series, Pujara took that chance. West Indies A rested Kirk Edwards, Chadwick Walton and Veerasammy Permaul, with Fidel Edwards injured. India A beefed up their pace department, and Mohammad Kaif made way for Paras Dogra. The focus was squarely on Zaheer after India won the toss.

Even as Ishwar Pandey drew edges from Kieran Powell at the top of the innings, Zaheer worked Kraigg Brathwaite out. From the moment, Brathwaite followed one delivery wide outside off, Zaheer was all over him. The next ball squared Brathwaite up as it seamed away after pitching within the stumps. The next one was floated wide again, and Brathwaite duly edged it through to Uday Kaul. The cautious start had now taken a turn for the worse: 8 for 1 after 6.3 overs.

In Kirk Edwards' absence, Johnson batted at No. 3, and started cautiously. Powell, though, was squared up and bowled by Kulkarni, who angled the ball in and got it to hold its line after pitching. Johnson and Deonarine broke the shackles, benefiting from some lackadaisical fielding - Johnson was dropped by Dogra on 51. They had to negotiate a testing second spell by Zaheer, though, when the leg cutter that leaves the left-hand batsmen made a prompt appearance.

That extra enterprise, though, proved Deonarine's demise. Nayar had fallen back on the old Ranji Trophy ploy of bowling wide outside off, but in one over, Deonarine went chasing three deliveries, managing to edge the third to end the 70-run partnership.

By now, Johnson had become more fluent, and with Assad Fudadin, he gave West Indies A the most assured spell of day. There was a period when they hit at least one boundary in six successive overs, without taking a risk. As he approached the hundred, though, Johnson was adjudged lbw to Nayar bowling from round the stumps, making it 175 for 4.

Pandey came back to get Jonathan Carter, who drove loosely outside off. Fudadin too went for a back-foot drive off Kulkarni, and the ball got a bit big on him to take the edge to second slip. In between the two dismissals, Kulkarni got Jamhar Hamilton with one that stayed low.

The rest fell one after the other, although it took two superb catches. The first was Kulkarni running backwards at point to get Delorn Johnson, and the second was Dogra's leap high at gully to send back Nikita Miller, who had played two superb back-foot drives in his 23-ball 18. Gautam Gambhir and VA Jagadeesh saw off the remaining 18 minutes of play without any incident.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rakesh on October 10, 2013, 11:25 GMT

    Wow...Pujara you beauty. This effort should silence people who said he scores runs mainly in Rajkot.

  • Dummy4 on October 10, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    Well done Abhishek Nayar.Selectors need to pick such talented and inform players.He is in midst of a purple patch.India need an explosive batsman and military medium bowler at number 7 in tests.He can be useful like Andrew McDonald in test series in South Africa which Australians won convincingly in 2010.

  • Nirjhar on October 10, 2013, 9:32 GMT

    Glad Gambhir making runs. I get worried when competition for a place in the side ebbs. Murali Vijay, Rohit need to see competition, assuming Tendulkar retires in the 200th TEST and will not go to SA tour.

    I would like to see Unadkat chosen ahead of Ishant for ODIs/T20 vs Aus today. Ishant has played far too often just because he has not been challenged though his performance is just about acceptable but not great. Imagine him having played over 50 tests

    Also good to see Pujara make runs after a string of below par scores. Good for him as a leader.

  • naruto on October 10, 2013, 9:19 GMT

    does this one good score means thaat gambir is back to test side???? please tell me no..... i dont want any of sehwag, gambir, bajji into the team again.... zaheer can be given a chance as we dont still have a spear head in our attack.....

  • Dummy4 on October 10, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    Good chance for Gambhir and Sehwag to prove and get back in contention. Similarly Dinesh kartik need to be given chance. Dinesh has been a good performer and has been overlooked again for no reasons. He deserves a chance and he has been a good player overseas and his average overseas is similar to Dravid though dinesh had only limited chances. its again a biased selection as far as TN players are conerned who are ignored time and again. It would have been good if DK was included either in India A or in South zone team for Duleep trophy to prove himself once again.

  • Manoj on October 10, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    Gambhir playing well will give a challenge to vijay's position. In southafrica we need gambhir with dhawan has openers.

  • Naresh on October 10, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    Like the combo of Khan and Pandey. Hope it works out in the current match and starts a new bowling pair for India. I think Ishant and Yadav need to find their radar and game. Bhuvi thrives on helpful conditions but lacks partners in current scheme. This is where India needs to concentrate on - finding the best pace trio.

  • o on October 10, 2013, 6:04 GMT

    I notice Kirk Edwards Permaul and Walton aren't playing here. I guess they're resting them I can understand first 2 especially as they're likely to feature in the Test 11 but why Walton? he just had one game one innings last game . . .

  • Dummy4 on October 10, 2013, 0:45 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster on (October 9, 2013, 18:05 GMT): you said:

    "...Miller and Permaul who have considerable international experience bowled to totally green and rookie India A batsmen with limited or zero exposure to international cricket..."

    Viru & Gambhir..., with limited or 'zero international experience'? You must be joking!

    Of course, their form has fallen so much, that you may be considering both of them below the rookie level. Today may be a day for them to hit some runs. Even then, I would say, that the selectors should wait till they show some consistency over some time; over a reasonable number of matches..

  • Dummy4 on October 9, 2013, 20:26 GMT

    In one day matches as third fast bowler Abhishek Nair Can come. He can bat and also good control bowler.