Dhawan, bowlers give India A easy win
India A 196 for 2 (Dhawan 99*, Rahane 63) beat Bengal 193 (Saha 65, Sharma 4-29, Ojha 3-40) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
A collective bowling performance, and dominant batting by Shikhar Dhawan gave India A a smooth eight-wicket win over Bengal at Rajkot's new Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium. A target of 194 proved to be too meagre for India A's strong batting line-up. Eventually, only four batsmen were required to achieve the target, with more than 12 overs to spare, led by Dhawan's innings. Dhawan batted right through the innings, and finished the game with a boundary through extra-cover, a shot that took him to 99.
Opener Robin Uthappa was his more dominant partner at the top, but when he departed in the seventh over, Dhawan and the in-form Ajinkya Rahane added 150 runs to control the chase, making the contest one sided. Rahane's 63, which contained five boundaries, was his fourth fifty in seven domestic games across all formats. The stand was broken by offspinner Jayojit Basu, but by then it was too late for Bengal as India A only needed ten more runs to win.
Bengal's innings was anything but dominant, and stuttered all the way through, led by effective bowling spells by the seamer Ishant Sharma and spinner Pragyan Ojha. The duo accounted for seven of Bengal's wickets as apart from a recovery stand of 84 between wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha and No. 8 Arnab Nandi, there was nothing much the batsmen could offer. Saha, who last played international cricket in January, started his innings sedately and defended solidly in the first half of his innings, but as wickets kept falling around him, attacked assuredly towards the end. His 65 only rescued Bengal from further trouble when they were reduced to 92 for 6 at one stage.
Ojha started the rot, claiming two of the first three wickets to fall, the other being a run out. He bowled with precision, allowing his deliveries to grip the surface well, and reaped rewards, claiming 3 for 40 in 9.1 overs. But the major damage was done by Ishant, who took four wickets, and was economical at 3.22 runs per over in his nine overs. It was his second domestic match since his return from an ankle surgery that had ruled him out of the IPL, his last international appearance for India being the Adelaide Test against Australia in January this year.
India A take on India B in the next match of the Challenger Trophy on Sunday.