India A 168 for 5 (Badrinath 69 *) beat New Zealand A 167 by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Praveen Kumar and Piyush Chawla shared five wickets to restrict New Zealand to a below-par 167 before S Badrinath hit a polished half-century to ease India A to a five-wicket win. It wasn't a spectacular chase but the Indians, led by the composed Badrinath, did enough to get past the line, earning a bonus point in the process.
With this win all three teams stand equal on four points after the first round of matches. The next round of games will be played in Chennai from September 21.
Badrinath started off a touch nervous - understandably, after his failure in the three-day game against Australia A and in the first game of this series - and was hit on the helmet early on by a bouncer from Mark Gillespie. But he settled down with the help of singles before exploding with some breathtaking shots. He took his revenge against Gillespie with a feisty on-the-up punch and a gorgeous extra-cover drive and lofted the offspinners over their heads.
Dinesh Kartik rotated the strike well in an important 68-run partnership with Badrinath but fell against the run of play, edging an intended cut shot before the gum-chewing Yusuf Pathan hastened the end with some big hits. However, India's top order continued to struggle for the second game in a row.
Robin Uthappa, who played a delightful pull and a flamboyant flick over midwicket, got carried away and fell, pulling a full-length delivery straight to mid-on; Swapnil Asnodkar didn't offer a shot to a ball on the off-stump line; Suresh Raina fell to his urge to hit on the up and was taken spectacularly by a diving Martin Guptill at point and Rohit Sharma failed yet again, flicking a slower one tamely to midwicket. It was a typical Rohit innings: a lovely cover drive to keep the purists happy before the characteristic "lazy dismissal".
New Zealand's start was similarly ominous. Bradley Watling was run out and Guptill fished outside off before James Marshall, the captain today, chipped one straight to short midwicket to leave New Zealand wobbling at 8 for 3. However, Peter Fulton and Neil Broom went about the recovery job in a calculated manner.
While Fulton took care of Dhawal Kulkarni, Broom picked runs off Chawla. It was an interesting tussle between Kulkarni and Fulton. Fulton was in trouble against the short-of-length cutters, twice edging just short of Uthappa at slip before he decided to force the bowler to alter his length by walking down the track. When the length shortened he pulled, when it was full he lofted it over the bowler and when the line changed to well outside off, he creamed through the covers.
Meanwhile, Broom sussed out pretty quickly that Chawla bowls more googlies than legbreaks and hit him with the turn over the on-side field. He took the left leg out of the way to ping the cowcorner and long-on regions. At 97 for 3, things were looking good for New Zealand when disaster struck. Broom was caught short of the crease by a powerful throw by Raina from deep square leg, Fulton fell rather softly, flicking straight to midwicket and the lower order struggled against Chawla's googlies. And 167 was never going to be enough on a track that held no demons.