Parnell, Harmer lead South Africa A fightback
South Africa A 231 for 6 (Harmer 68*, Parnell 64*) v India A
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Wayne Parnell and Simon Harmer pulled South Africa A out of the depths of 97 for 6 with an unbeaten 134-run partnership in the second and final unofficial Test against India A in Pretoria. The fast bowler and the offspinner came together soon after drinks in the second session with the India A bowlers running through the specialist batsmen, and 47.3 overs later, were still together at stumps.
Parnell drove Siddarth Kaul for successive fours off his third and fourth deliveries in the 35th over, and ended the day by driving the young fast bowler down the ground for four more. Parnell faced 172 balls for his unbeaten 64 which included eight fours. Harmer was more aggressive, taking 115 deliveries for his unbeaten 68 which had nine fours and a six, off Kaul.
"We are in a great position compared to what we were on at lunch," South Africa A batsman Temba Bavuma said. "The way Wayne and Simon have fought back at the end of the innings has been fantastic. They have put us in a good position, it will be important for us to push on tomorrow morning."
South Africa A were in early trouble after choosing to bat under overcast skies, but that was not the only source of their worries. "We thought with the cloud cover the ball would swing a bit more but the wicket was a bit sticky and two-paced," Bavuma said.
Lalchand Rajput, the India A coach, said the pitch was seaming around for the first hour or so after which it became flatter and flatter. "There was some moisture early on," Rajput told ESPNcricinfo. "I feel this wicket might spin later on. I don't think it is too different from the one we played the first (unofficial) Test on."
Rajput praised the efforts of Parnell and Harmer, but pointed out that three close leg-before decisions went against India A, one each off the bowling of Ishwar Pandey, Shahbaz Nadeem and Parvez Rasool. Nevertheless, he was glad with the way his bowlers shaped up in the morning, especially Pandey.
Dean Elgar was the first to depart, pulling Kaul to short midwicket in the fourth over. Pandey, who had claimed seven wickets in India A's innings win in the first unofficial Test, had Reeza Hendricks caught behind on the drive off the very next delivery, and in his next over, had Rilee Rossouw driving early to mid-off.
Bavuma and the captain Justin Ontong tried to repair the innings from 11 for 3, but Ontong fell to Nadeem's left-arm spin after getting to 28. Bavuma found another ally in the wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile and the duo pushed the side towards 100, but Rasool, the offspinning allrounder, struck twice in the 34th over to limit their partnership to 46. Tsolekile was caught by Nadeem off a top-edged pull and three balls later, Bavuma went back to defend and was trapped leg-before for 42.
"We would have wanted to maximise the partnerships but we'll take the position we are in now compared to then," Bavuma said.
Only 81.3 overs were possible in the day after the start was delayed by a wet square. India A made as many as five changes to the team that won the first unofficial Test. Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Jaydev Unadkat and Mohammed Shami were rested in favour of Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Stuart Binny, Rasool and Kaul. South Africa A brought in Beuran Hendricks for JP Duminy.