SA A v India A, 1st unofficial Test, Rustenburg, 2nd day August 18, 2013

Raina, Rohit cement India A advantage

ESPNcricinfo staff
39

South Africa A 20 for 1 (Hendricks 10, Unadkat 1-12) trail India A 582 for 9 dec (Raina 135, Rohit 119, Duminy 3-80) by 562 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

More toil awaited the South Africa A bowlers as Rohit Sharma, unbeaten on 70 overnight, scored his 16th first-class century and shared a 106-run stand with Suresh Raina to power India A past 500. India A's lower order then frustrated South Africa A before the visitors declared their innings at 582 for 9. South Africa were further hampered by the loss of Reeza Hendricks two overs before close of play.

The morning session began with Raina and Rohit playing out six consecutive maidens, but things changed rapidly in the 99th over when Rohit pulled Andrew Birch over the boundary line and Raina helped himself to two successive fours on the off side.

Unlike the one set at the start of the day, this scoring trend continued, capping off with Rohit stroking his 12th four, through the covers, to bring up his century. Raina celebrated his fifty soon after with a cut that found the boundary for four.

South Africa gained some respite after lunch, when Duminy had Rohit caught by Temba Bavuma at short leg. Ajinkya Rahane, another contender eyeing a slot in the senior side, struck two fours but became Duminy's second victim on the stroke of drinks. Wriddhiman Saha followed suit, falling to the Bavuma-Duminy combine as India went from 376 for 3 to 418 for 6.

However, Raina held firm, with a brisk Ishwar Pandey, for company and India A racked up 79 runs off 74 balls to reach 500. Raina brought up a vital century, his 12th in first-class cricket, and with the landmark behind him, tore into Duminy, slugging him for 19 runs in the 143rd over.

His wicket, eight balls after tea, ushered two more dismissals as India slipped to 500 for 9. An enterprising 82-run stand between No. 10 and 11, Jaydev Unadkat and Shahbaz Nadeem looked good to push India past 600, but Pujara chose to declare at 582 to have a few overs at the South African openers. The decision proved profitable as Hendricks nicked Unadkat to the keeper in the seventh over, two overs before close of play.

Rohit credited the time he spent in the middle to be more beneficial than his final score. "I'm happy that I played close to 250 balls," he said "Rather than getting 119, I feel facing that amount of balls was important.

"It was a crucial phase of the game when I went in and it was important that I stay in because we didn't want to lose any more wickets. I wanted to prove a point to myself, and nobody else, that I could battle out the situation if needed. In that process I didn't play my natural game, which normally includes a lot of shots."

Duminy conceded the new ball was doing a bit, but was hopeful of his side seeing it off and cashing in with the older ball.

"Conditions become easier to bat the longer you stay in but there is a little bit in it for the new ball," Duminy said. "It's quite an abrasive field so if you get past the new ball phase the ball gets old quite quickly and becomes flat. Hopefully we will be able to cash in on that."

"There is a little bit of help for the spinners," he added. "I think it is obviously because of the rough the seamers have created, which brings the offspinners into play."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cricket_ahan on August 19, 2013, 23:35 GMT

    Good call by the BCCI to hold these matches and give so many young and fringe players a chance to develop. For all the criticism they have copped in the recent and medium past, they (and possibly the ECB), are the only Boards with sufficient structure in place to develop young players and manage future transitions. Unlike the ACB and possibly the Carribean cricket boards, they still place tremendous importance on domestic first class competitions, and they have the courage to continue persisting with players to allow them sufficient time to develop at the top level (case in point Virat Kohli). The senior team is still lacking one or two quality pacemen/seamers, but it's promising to see all the right steps being taken to find him. Bravo!

  • MrRajkamal on August 19, 2013, 16:58 GMT

    Is it fair to call these team as an A team? I am curious because I am not aware of the technical criteria that goes behind calling a particular set of team as A, B or C. But I felt it is unfair because atleast 6 players who has been part of the Indian test team in the last one year are playing. 7 if we remove the 1 year filter.

  • IndianCoolGuy on August 19, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    @Aryav Jain : DK is a better player than Rohit and Raina ?? Good joke buddy.

  • mahi678 on August 19, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    @spot_on, u r spot on w.r.t to murali vijay. he is one of good openers in india. but very few openers had survived in internatonal level. this may be because opening in indian conditions to indian bowlers is different from facing quality international bowlers. yes he is good opener but its difficult to produce same in international level. if he survives then its a difficult situation for some one like rohit and rahane.

    on other hand both rohit nd rahane played so well in FC cricket so chances there for one of them to sneak in the team any way.

  • mahi678 on August 19, 2013, 16:14 GMT

    the performance of raina reminds me of sehwag. i think sehwag has the ability to become all rounder. sehwag started his career as all rounder.

    He was promoted as opener where he become fearsome hitter. ths is where exatly caused his downfall later in his career. His performances become crutial for india as opener and he opted to stay out of bowling. his body gradually becoming stiff as he has no longer be so atlete. he doesnt need much running- which caused him fitness problems. at last he lost his place in team. great sehwag career ends.

    perhaps if he stays in middle order, he would concentrate on both bowling and batting; which makes him fit for long. his true nature is allrounder not the opening batsman.

  • dummy4fb on August 19, 2013, 15:46 GMT

    Surprised to exclusion of dinesh karthik . He is a better test batsman in comparison to Rohit & Raina & recently in good form . He can open for india , a good player under swinging conditions, plays short ball well, better keeping abilities than dhoni flat track centuries from rohit,raina is anybody cup of tea against a weak opposition. He{Karthik} is a patience player unlike raina & rohit both have tendency of taking risks if runs are hard to come by. Ajinkya rahane could have been promoted up in the order. IC pandey could be handy in SA.

  • dummy4fb on August 19, 2013, 15:39 GMT

    India may NOT enforce the follow-on. May wish to give another chance for batting practice to Vijay, Dhawan, Rahane & Saha. With Duncan being there, if there is a trade off between trying to get a win for the A-team Vs potential practice for a few 'batting candidates' for the regular tour, the practice motive may win.

    Difficulties in getting 12 wickets tomorrow could be a second reason. Not risking injury to bowlers like Shami, Pndey & Unadkat could be third reason.

  • spot_on on August 19, 2013, 15:23 GMT

    I doubt Rohit will ever make into India test team. Vijay is a classic test material. He got his technique rubbished cuz of IPL. Nevertheless he is a player who has a solid technique to open at the top. His average of about 40 is neat considering the fact that he had to open the innings. The guy can play an anchoring role, but for Rohit. I doubt if he can ever place an innings.

  • dummy4fb on August 19, 2013, 15:22 GMT

    Re: Spin Attack of India: As long as Raina & Jadeja continue to take wickets, only Ashwin will get a chance to be in the Indian Playing XI, as a spinner. Only, if Ashwin is not available for any reason, Mishra will get a chance. All other regular spinnes are far behind. (Including the much hyped Rasool. I was part of the cacophany crying out loud for trying out Rasool)

  • dummy4fb on August 19, 2013, 15:15 GMT

    The 6th, 7th & 8th pair adding almost 200 runs, when the top 5 could make just 119 is really praiseworthy. Duminy played the key role in that fightback. Good show, Duminy!

    Of course, as I said in an earlier post, it is also symptomatic of India's problem with the bottom half... of almost any opposition! (There were a few exceptions; but by definition exceptions rae exceptions!)