India A pacers secure comprehensive win
India A 582 for 9 dec (Pujara 137, Raina 135, Rohit 119) beat South Africa A 357 (Duminy 84, Rossouw 57, Pandey 4-46) and 212 (f/o) (Bavuma 65, Pandey 3-25, Shami 3-33) by an innings and 13 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Six wickets between the fast bowlers Ishwar Pandey and Mohammed Shami helped India A beat South Africa A by an innings and 13 runs in the first unofficial Test in Rustenburg, as a fighting 65 from Temba Bavuma went in vain.
South Africa A resumed their first innings on 312 for 9 and frustrated the Indian bowlers, as Kyle Abbott and Andrew Birch added another 45. Suresh Raina eventually trapped Birch in front to end the innings on 357, 76 short of the follow-on target.
Cheteshwar Pujara asked South Africa to bat again and his decision was immediately vindicated, as Pandey, who had claimed 4 for 46 in the first innings, bowled Reeza Hendricks off the third ball of the innings. Shami dismissed both Dean Elgar and first innings top-scorer JP Duminy in the sixth over to leave the hosts on 15 for 3 and staring at a deficit of 210.
Rilee Rossouw continued his counterattacking ways, taking three fours off Shami in the 10th over. But as in the first innings, he failed to capitalise on his start as Raina bowled him for 34.
South Africa resisted through Bavuma who, having departed for a duck in the first innings, produced a gritty half-century. Justin Ontong and Thami Tsolekile were stopped in their tracks as Shami and Pandey returned for their second spells.
Ontong struck two fours off Shami in the 25th over before his stumps were disturbed and Tsolekile lost his to Pandey in the 35th. Wayne Parnell holed out to Shikhar Dhawan at deep midwicket off left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, to leave South Africa A on 140 for 7.
Bavuma soldiered on, collecting two fours off the 44th over from Nadeem to reach his fifty but pulled Rohit Sharma's first delivery of the innings to midwicket. Rohit also induced the edge from Abbott to the wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha after ten overs of further resistance and finished with 2 for 19 in eight overs, to go with his century from the first innings. Pandey bowled Birch in the 67th over to end with match figures of 7 for 71.
Pujara, named the Man of the Match for his 137 in the first innings, lauded the efforts of his bowlers. "If you want to win a Test match you have to get 20 wickets and to do that in two days in these conditions is fantastic," Pujara said. "Our experience of playing in Indian conditions where you get similar wickets to this one has helped. Normally the wickets are flat and the bowlers are made to work hard for their wickets and that experience shone through today."
South Africa A coach Vincent Barnes said his players had learnt a lot from the match despite the defeat. "I tell the players that these are the type of conditions you are going to play in most of the time and you have to have the game plan and the skills for it," Barnes said. "That is what international cricket is about, a few of the guys stepped up, some stuck in and batted well to get us into a good position, especially in the first innings.
"At the end of the day these tough conditions give me an idea of the character of the players under situations like this," he said. "If they got 590 and we scored 480 we would walk off learning very little about ourselves and the game. There is a lot that we have learnt, I think the players understood that they are playing against world-class opposition and it was tough."
The teams will square off in Pretoria for the second and final unofficial Test starting on August 24.