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India A 213 for 5 (Sriram 105*) beat England A 210 (Smith 76*, Newman 68) by five wickets
Sridharan Sriram scored an unbeaten 105, adding 155 for the fifth wicket with Venugopal Rao, as India A eased past England A's substandard target of 211 to complete a 3-0 clean sweep in Chennai. The victory was secured with nearly five overs to spare, and ensures that England will enter the first-class phase of their tour with spirits at a low ebb.
It was a disappointing performance from start to finish for England. The high point came when Scott Newman and Ed Smith were adding 99 for the third wicket, but only one other batsman could reach double figures - Sajid Mahmood, who made a rapid 13 from No. 9. England tumbled from 141 for 3 to 210 all out with nearly three overs of their innings still remaining.
It has been a difficult week for England A, with defeats in the first two matches, and the loss of their captain, Alex Gidman, to a hand injury. His absence was compounded by the suspension of Bilal Shafayat for dissent in the second match, and when James Tredwell won the toss and chose to bat, his decision instantly backfired. England lost two early wickets, including the big scalp of Kevin Pietersen, whose hard-hitting 131 had salvaged the innings in Tuesday's match.
But Newman and Smith held the innings together. Newman was especially impressive, but when he fell for 68, the innings disintegrated despite Smith's best efforts to stay afloat. Smith, who is used to tough situations after making his Test debut in last summer's closely fought series with South Africa, was left not out on 76, as the last seven wickets tumbled for 69. The pick of India's bowlers was Sairaj Bahutule, who claimed 3 for 33 from a 10-over spell.
England made a fighting start to India's innings, with Mahmood leading from the front with three early wickets, including both openers - Dinesh Mongia included - for single figures. He later added the scalp of JP Yadav, while Graeme Wagg removed Mithan Manhas for 14. But from 34 for 4, India A rallied through the efforts of Sriram and Rao, who were not parted until the match was as good as over. On the plus side for England, Simon Jones came through another 10-over spell unscathed, finishing with 0 for 39.