India A 345 & 181 for 4 (Iyer 65, Bawne 64*, Olivier 2-24) drew with South Africa A 319 (Hamza 93, Erwee 58, Second 47; Siraj 4-72, Rajpoot 3-52)
'Captaincy gets the best out of me' - Iyer
Shreyas Iyer says leadership changes his 'character and attitude' and that he really likes playing in pressure situations
Only 58 overs were possible on the final day, but with seven wickets falling it was yet another day dominated by the bowlers. With the post-tea rain not subsiding, India A captain Shreyas Iyer and South Africa A's stand-in captain Dane Piedt shook hands two hours before scheduled stumps, and shared the honours of the well-fought second unofficial Test in Alur. India won the series 1-0, riding on the tight victory in Bengaluru last week, where the hosts won the game with only seven deliveries remaining on the last day.
The standout performances on Monday were all from the hosts. In the morning, Mohammed Siraj's double-wicket blow bowled South Africa out for 319, after they had added only 25 to their overnight score. Then Iyer and Ankit Bawne scored classy half-centuries in the afternoon to rescue India following three early wickets. Siraj finished with figures of 4 for 72 while it was Bawne's second half-century of the match.
Hanuma Vihari, who made 148 in the first innings, could not repeat that performance in the second, trapped lbw off Duanne Olivier for zero. Olivier had also removed Prithvi Shaw in the third over, his leg stump flattened by a full delivery. Olivier was the standout among the South Africa bowlers, capping off his 6 for 63 in the first innings with figures of 2 for 24 in the second.
India, starting their second innings with a slender lead, were rocked early with Olivier's wickets, which left them reeling at 14 for 2. Mayank Agarwal - who scored a duck in the first innings - then combined with Iyer in a 40-run partnership before Agarwal's stumps were cleaned up by offspinner Senuran Muthusamy. Then Iyer built another partnership with No. 5 Bawne, the pair adding 94 in 117 deliveries. Srikar Bharat then made a patient, unbeaten 18 alongside Bawne, and when tea was called, India were 207 ahead. India opted to bat on after the break, but the rain came down as soon as they made their way to the middle, and soon after that the game was called off.
After the match, Iyer said India had no intention of declaring, for two reasons: first, that they knew the weather forecast wasn't promising and second, their 1-0 series lead.
"We were not going for victory," Iyer said. "Yesterday itself we knew it wasn't going to be a full day. Yes, I was contemplating which bowler to give certain situations, but we chose not to go for it because of the early wickets lost.
"In this situation, it didn't demand us to take risk, because we were 1-0 up. The pressure was on them, and they weren't showing any glimpse of going for the win, so we decided to play it easy and bat the whole day."
India A's next four-day contest will be against Australia A in Visakhapatnam, and before that will play a one-day quadrangular tournament also involving India B, South Africa A and Australia A in Vijayawada next week.