Raina, Rohit cement India A advantage
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."