England Lions and India-A play out a dull draw
The ball from Shahbaz Nadeem pitched around the leg stump. It turned sharply towards the off, and bounced.
Ollie Pope had no answer to it; the best he could do was to give a catch behind the stumps to K.S. Bharat. That was about the most exciting thing that happened on the final day of the first ‘Test’ between India-A and England Lions, which ended in a tame draw at the Wayanad Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
Shahbaz, Jalaj shine
The left-arm spin of Shahbaz and the off-spin of Jalaj Saxena had begun to trouble the English batsmen a bit, but that was just too late in the day.
The Lions, who started the second innings 200 behind, were 214 for five when the match ended. The draw was hardly a surprising result given the flatness of the track. In four days, just 21 wickets fell.
The Lions had resumed at 20 for no loss and the openers, Ben Duckett and Max Holden, negotiated the Indian seamers comfortably. Their stand was worth 63, when Duckett’s attempt to drive seamer Avesh Khan’s first ball of the morning ended up in K.L. Rahul’s hands at slip.
The visitors lost their second wicket a little later, when Saxena had Holden caught at silly point by Abhimanyu Easwaran. The batsman didn’t seem convinced that he had hit the ball.
If India-A had entertained any hopes of taking a few more quick wickets and put the Lions under pressure, they were dashed by Pope (63, 122b, 10x4) and Sam Hain (57, 178b, 7x4). The duo added 105 for the third wicket. The partnership was broken, at the stroke of tea, by that lovely ball from Shahbaz, who would also send back the Lions captain Sam Billings. From the other end, Saxena was bowling well, too. The Kerala all-rounder took his second wicket of the innings, trapping Hain lbw.
The second and final ‘Test’ stars at Mysuru on February 13.
The scores: England Lions — 1st Innings: 340.
India-A — 1st Innings: 540 for six decl. England Lions — 2nd Innings: Max Holden c Abhimanyu b Saxena 29, Ben Duckett c Rahul b Avesh 30, Sam Hain lbw b Saxena 57, Ollie Pope c Bharat b Shahbaz 63, Sam Billings c Panchal b Shahbaz 5, Steven Mullaney (not out) 3, Extras (b-5, lb-8, nb-1) 14; Total (for five wkst. in 83 overs): 214.
Fall of wickets: 1-63, 2-81, 3186, 4-198, 5-198.
India-A bowling: Saini 8-027-0, Avesh 11-1-30-1, Saxena 25-11-41-2, Shahbaz 27-1156-2, Shardul 10-44-0, Abhimanyu 2-0-3-0 Man-of-the-Match: Priyank Panchal.
Silver lining: Shahbaz Nadeem’s wicket of Ollie Pope was the only exciting event of the day.