Zimbabwe Select v India A, Bulawayo, 1st day July 30, 2007

Pujara and Patel make hay in the sun

Cricinfo staff

India A 291 for 2 (Pujara 100, Patel 76*, Uthappa 67) v Zimbabwe Select

The India A batsmen dominated play on the first day of their second match against Zimbabwe Select at Queens Sports Club as they reached 291 for 2 at the close.

Mohammed Kaif won the toss and batted on a good, even-paced pitch, a decision vindicated when Cheteshwar Pujara and Robin Uthappa reached lunch without alarm.

Ed Rainsford, who had a wretched day suffering from constant overstepping problems with 16 no-balls, broke the 110-run stand when he had Uthappa caught by Vusi Sibanda at first slip but Pujara and Parthiv Patel took over in a second-wicket partnership of 110. Patel should have gone when he had scored 23 but Sibanda spilt the slip catch off Prosper Utseya.

Utseya eventually got a wicket when he had Pujara caught off the glove by Tatenda Taibu for exactly 100, following which Patel and Kaif put on an unbeaten 67-run stand. Although Patel's 76 not out contained only five fours, he managed to score at a strike-rate of over 70.

For Zimbabwe, the bowlers lacked penetration and if they continue in the same vein, captain Utseya will find it hard to prevent the Indian batsmen from piling on the runs.