SA A v India A, 1st unofficial Test, Rustenburg, 1st day August 17, 2013

Pujara, Rohit put India A in control

ESPNcricinfo staff
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India A 281 for 3 (Pujara 137, Rohit 70*) v South Africa A
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Cheteshwar Pujara hit his 21st first-class century in a 176-run partnership with Rohit Sharma as India A dominated the opening day of the first unofficial Test against South Africa A in Rustenburg. Pujara won the toss on a dry pitch, and put his team on their way to a big score with his second hundred of the tour. Quite contrary to what the senior India side will likely encounter on their South Africa trip in November, the wicket played slow and aided turn, with spinners sending down 36 of the 90 overs bowled.

Pujara arrived at the fall of Shikhar Dhawan for 11 in the 17th over, and it took the second new ball to dislodge him in the 84th over, by when he had breezed to 137 off 203 deliveries with 17 fours. Rohit, yet to play a Test after 102 ODIs, ended the day unbeaten on 70 in the company of Ajinkya Rahane, who came in at No. 5 after once having been in contention for an opening spot.

The India A batsmen were playing their first first-class game since Australia's tour of India in February and March. For Dhawan, it was his first long-form innings since his sensational Test debut in Mohali. Dhawan and Vijay were cautious against the new ball, with India A managing only 20 in 14 overs in the first hour. Spin was introduced after drinks, and Dhawan took on the offspinner Simon Harmer immediately, sweeping him for six. He fell on the same shot in Harmer's next over though, edging to slip.

Vijay batted through the opening session, driving for several boundaries through the covers, and also edging a couple through the slip cordon. He fell just before the drinks break after lunch, going caught behind for 44 off the fast bowler Andrew Birch.

Pujara had nearly caught up with Vijay by this time. The India A captain collected most of his boundaries through the cut, which is one of his strengths. Rohit was strong on the drive and cut as well.

Pujara picked up more pace after reaching his hundred in the 73rd over. He attacked the second new ball with a series of cuts, before missing an inswinger from Wayne Parnell to be bowled. Rohit and Rahane saw off six overs till stumps without further damage.

"Initially the wicket was doing a bit and when I went in to bat the off-spinner was turning the ball," Pujara said. "It was important to stay at the crease and to avoid losing more wickets. It was difficult to score at the beginning but once I was set I could play my shots."

Vincent Barnes, the South Africa A coach, was reasonably satisfied with his attack. "I thought we stuck to our guns for probably three-quarters of the day," Barnes said. "We kept them quiet. It was a strange type of wicket, there wasn't much in for the bowlers. There was also a period where we got a bit impatient and started looking for wickets.

"They played and left well, allowed themselves time to get in before they played risky shots and capitalised against the older ball.

"It will be important for us to get stuck in with a couple of early wickets. We have to be patient; it's not a wicket where you should try to do too many things, even though the ball is new."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ramz30380 on August 19, 2013, 15:58 GMT

    @ Dilip Singh - Plz read my sentence carefully & completely! I had mentioned that in context to another comment wherein the individual had suggested that to include Rohit Sharma they have to take him as an opener - I am against the theory of dropping an individual just for the sake of accommodating another.

    Rohit is yet to play an international test match - we dunno whether he may deliver or not - but M.Vijay was the highest run scorer agsint Aus - a tried and tested solution is in any day better - u cant experiment in a series like SA.

    @ Rohit - Agreed. But i think that M.Vijay deserves a longer leash at the test level. Just how we cant be judgmental abt SRJ playing in SA, we cant be judgmental abt Vijay without playing him for a test match there.

    Anyways its a good thing to have the problem of plenty - i hope we can say the same abt our pace bowling dept as well!

  • ramz30380 on August 18, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    I cant understand the logic behind declaring when Nadeem is on 46*, they were scoring more than a run a ball - at least they cud have waited till the man scored a half century - though this is a List A match, it still wud have been a confidence booster for the young man.

    Well done Unadkat! A wicket in the 7th over of an innings is good! This lad is sure pushing his case with the selection committee. Will this pose a threat to the unpredictable Ishant?! We have to wait and watch......

  • Rohit... on August 18, 2013, 17:31 GMT

    @ ramz30380 : Well I initially had the same feeling as you have now, but there is point which you are missing... Vijay's weakness to swinging bowlers... He does not provide the confidence which the management expects from an opener... It is for the same reason MSD opted for Rohit as an opener in CT... Now against Steyn and company in grassland facing a RED ball, I don't think he will opt for him ahead of Rohit Sharma... He might give the preference to Rohit to open with Dhawan and so Rohit should open the batting in tests to get the experience.

  • dummy4fb on August 18, 2013, 17:03 GMT

    3-80 JP Duminy - chances are he will be the sole spinner come the test matches.

  • android_user on August 18, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    is dis series brodcasting anywer??

  • android_user on August 18, 2013, 16:36 GMT

    rohit sharma my dear brother good batting

  • vinaykmr on August 18, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    @ ramz30380. dk is much better than rohit. @ Naman Gupta. ravindra jadeja has been nemesis of ausis' capt whether clarke, or watson. he has done brilliantly as bowler that cant b denied. so jadeja can definitely b taken as main strike bowler n atlast even as fifth bowler cum batsman.

  • dummy4fb on August 18, 2013, 16:15 GMT

    @ramz30380:"Rohit Sharma in the side - someone who is yet to prove his credentials as a Test player"... how many opportunities has he been given in the test matches? None. He is a better Ranji Player than an ODI player. India kept trying him in the wrong format and then people conclude that he is no good. In this match Vijay was able to score 40+ with a lot of edges. He was lucky not to get out like Dhavan did. Only Pujara and Rohit were able to play properly, like it is needed in the longer format.

  • dummy4fb on August 18, 2013, 15:27 GMT

    Dont dismiss away Harmer as a harmless batsman; as a mere bwoler doing night watchman's duty. He has a 100 and an avergae of 40 to his credit in first class matches!

  • dummy4fb on August 18, 2013, 15:23 GMT

    Unadkat got one opener. If we get one more before the close, it will be icing over the cake. This is what I meant by giving around 10 overs or so to our bowlers!