Zimbabwe wobble after India's tail wags
Zimbabwe Select 129 for 4 trail India A 489 (Uthappa 88, Chawla 68, Badrinath 62) by 350 runs
India A continued to dominate on the second day of their tour match against Zimbabwe Select at Harare Sports Club. At the close of play Zimbabwe Select had reached 129 for 4 in reply to the tourists' 489.
Resuming on 331 for 5, India struggled at first before making hay when Prosper Utseya turned to his spinners, with Subramaniam Badrinath (62) cutting lose in an otherwise turgid morning session which produced 70 runs.
Ed Rainsford struck three times after lunch, all to catches by Tatenda Taibu, the first, to remove Badrinath showing that he had lost little of his agility during his lengthy absence. India's last pair added to Zimbabwe's frustration as VRV Singh twice deposited Prosper Utseya over the media centre before Chris Mpofu finally ended the innings.
Zimbabwe started confidently, Hamilton Masakadza looking comfortable off both front and back foot, and by tea they had reached 31 for 0.
Tinotenda Mawoyo edged to Mohammad Kaif in the slips soon after the resumption, and then Vusi Sibanda followed in identical fashion in the next over. Masakadza carried on with his attacking innings, this best shot being a big six off Rajesh Pawar, but it was Pawar who struck back to have him caught by Parthiv Patel.
Taibu remained unbeaten at the close, but given the fragility and inexperience of those still to come in - even though this is virtually a full national side in all but name - it is hard to see where the runs will come from to enable Zimbabwe to avoid the follow-on tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Chandrakant Pandit, the India A coach, spoke about the team's performance. "I'm not really disappointed, because the Zimbabwe fast bowlers were using the morning conditions very well and Badrinath and Piyush Chawla, and later Pawar, did really well to fight back after Irfan was lbw in the third over of the day," he told the Hindustan Times.
"We were thinking that 500 would be good and we got pretty close to that," adding that Yo Mahesh, the medium-pacer, was "outstanding" while Pawar was "unlucky not to get more wickets".
"Initially, the [plan with the] new ball didn't go the way we expected, especially with Irfan, but things settled. Tomorrow will be interesting."