Bowlers put South Africa A in control
India A 145 for 6 (Pujara 54, Hendricks 3-28) trail South Africa A 341 (Harmer 96, Parnell 91) by 196 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Fast bowler Beuran Hendricks triggered a middle-order collapse as India A slumped from 95 for 1 to 145 for 6 towards the end of the second day to put South Africa A firmly in control of the second and final unofficial Test in Pretoria. Cheteshwar Pujara's half-century had helped India recover from the early loss of M Vijay, but Hendricks struck twice in quick succession to remove Pujara and Dinesh Karthik and Simon Harmer followed up his batting heroics with two middle-order wickets to leave the Indian innings in tatters.
After conceding 341 runs in the first innings, 245 of them to the last four wickets, India found themselves in further misery when Hendricks removed Vijay in the second over of the innings. Pujara, with support from Ajinkya Rahane, revived the innings with an 86-run partnership for the second wicket, bringing up his half-century along the way. But Hendricks dismissal of Pujara in the third over of his second spell marked a sudden shift in momentum.
Much like South Africa's riposte late on the first day when their lower order pulled the game out of India's grasp, this time, it was the bowling. India lost their fifth and the sixth wickets in the last five overs of the day, leaving them 196 runs behind South Africa.
"This pitch is deteriorating at a faster pace than in previous games here," Harmer said. "I think 340 is a good first innings total on this pitch. Totals are going to become lower as the match progresses and you won't want to be batting last. We have got ourselves into a good position but there is still a lot of work to be done," he added. "We have ticked the right boxes today so it will be important to do the same on day three."
The match panned out just as South Africa would have wanted it to. Harmer and Wayne Parnell stretched their monumental seventh-wicket stand close to the double-century mark, but Shahbaz Nadeem finally earned India a wicket after 65 overs of toil when he had Harmer trapped in front for 96. Parnell fell short of his century too; he was the ninth wicket to fell when he was out for 91. But India's struggle with the tail continued as Andrew Birch and Hendricks added 50 for the last wicket. Birch, unbeaten on 44, hit eight boundaries in his innings.
"It was good to get some runs," Harmer said. "My batting hasn't been up to scratch in the last two seasons and I have been working hard on it; it's good to reap some rewards from the hard work.
"At the start Wayne and I looked to occupy the crease for as long as possible. We knew that they were going to get impatient because they were looking to get into the tail to wrap up the innings, so we knew that the longer we stayed there the more we could capitalise on their mistakes."