Eng­land Lions and In­dia-A play out a dull draw

The Hindu - - SPORT - P.K. Ajith Ku­mar

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.

Hopes dashed

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.

SPE­CIAL AR­RANGE­MENT ■

Sil­ver lin­ing: Shah­baz Nadeem’s wicket of Ol­lie Pope was the only ex­cit­ing event of the day.

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