Mayank Agarwal's second hundred in consecutive days sees off England Lions
Another century from Mayank Agarwal set up India A's match-winning 309 for 6, as the Lions lost for the first time in the tri-series
India A 309 for 6 (Agarwal 112, Gill 72, Vihari 69) beat England Lions 207 (Thakur 3-53) by 102 runs
England Lions were beaten for the first time in the tri-series after India A, whom they had beaten comfortably at Derby last week, emphatically turned the tables in the wilting heat at Grace Road.
Chasing a total that they would have fancied themselves to reach on what was essentially a good batting surface, the Lions made a miserable start by losing their top three batsmen in the first eight overs and never recovered.
It means that they must beat West Indies A at Northampton on Thursday if they are to be sure of their place in the final at The Oval on Monday, although they would still qualify even if beaten, having won both their opening two matches, if India beat West Indies on Friday.
Given that this talented India side has been in impressive form these last two days at Leicester, you would expect that to happen. They saw off the West Indians with almost 12 overs to spare here on Monday and defeated England by a comfortable margin, even after leaving out Deepak Chahar, who had taken five wickets in that game.
They did not, however, leave out Mayank Agarwal, their other key man on Monday, and how wise they were. Despite needing treatment for a back injury during the innings and subsequently being unable to field, the opener made his second century in consecutive days.
It was as impressive a performance by India A as it was a disappointing one by the Lions, who had left the field relatively pleased with themselves at the end of their opponents' innings.
India A had been 100 without loss after 15 overs, and may actually have felt they ought to have built more handsomely on such a start.
The precociously talented Shubman Gill contributed 72 in an opening stand of 165 with Agarwal but the Lions fought back well, with Worcestershire's Ed Barnard impressing on his senior representative debut, Matt Fisher taking his first Lions wickets and the spinners, Liam Dawson and Matt Parkinson, playing a key role in frustrating the India batsmen in the middle phase of the innings, even if neither took a wicket.
Parkinson, the 21-year-old Lancashire legspinner, had shown impressive character, taking a mauling in his opening three-over spell, which cost 28 runs after both openers went after him, but conceding only 35 more in seven overs after Steven Mullaney brought him back in the 32nd over and stuck with him.
Barnard, who was added to the squad after the opening two matches in the tri-series following an injury to Craig Overton, was the best of the four seamers used, producing probably the delivery of the innings, finding extra bounce to have Gill caught at short third man having shaped to cut.
But England's innings was never able to gather any momentum after a fine opening spell by Shardul Thakur had accounted for both openers and Sam Hain, whose unbeaten 145 at Derby was the foundation of the Lions' win over West Indies A, was unable to get past 1 before having two stumps uprooted by Chahar's replacement, Prasidh Krishna.
The biggest source of frustration in the England dressing room will be that most of their batsmen played themselves in but that Dawson's 38 was their highest score, and that the top three apart they were mostly the architects of their own demise.
It had been good watching, though, especially for the schoolchildren, mainly wearing India replica shirts, who had a special day out. Gill, aged 18 and the leading batsman in India's victorious Under-19 World Cup team, is not long out of school himself yet is clearly a top-class player in the making, while Agarwal's frustrating wait for international recognition at the top level must surely end soon.
The 27-year-old ended the Indian domestic season with 2,141 runs, a record aggregate for an individual batsman across all formats. His first-class average was 105.45 and his 723 runs in the Vijay Hazare Trophy was the most by any Indian player in a List A tournament, topping Sachin Tendulkar's 673 at the 2003 World Cup.