India A’s tour of South Africa was supposed to be more of a preparation for the forthcoming tour of the senior team in the tough and bouncy conditions. However, it appears like the Cheteshwar Pujara-led side is having it easy.
The first unofficial ‘Test’ at Olympia Park, Rustenburg, saw India ‘A’ coast to a comfortable innings and 13-run win over South Africa ‘A’ on Wednesday.
Seamers Ishwar Pandey (3/25) and Shami Ahmed (3/33) needed only two sessions on the last day to dismiss the hosts for a meagre 212 in the second innings. Rohit Sharma, with his offies, joined the party by scalping two South African batsmen.
For the Proteas, only middle-order batsman Temba Bavuma could pose a challenge, while their senior batsman JP Duminy, who scored a 222-ball 84 in the first innings, was trapped leg-before by Shami for a four-ball duck.
India ‘A’ coach Lalchand Rajput could not stop praising his wards for putting up a commendable display of all-round cricket.
“It was fantastic. After winning the tri-series, now we have won the first ‘T’est. A complete all-round effort,” Rajput told dna from Rustenburg.
“Ishwar Pandey bowled well. Mohammed Shami and Jaydev Unadkat gave good support while Pujara, Rohit and Suresh Raina did very well with the bat,” he added.
After being welcomed with flat pitches in the one-dayers, the Indians apparently got a taste of a decent South African track.
“On the first day, there was help for seamers and then it started turning from the next day. However, the ball was carrying well to the wicketkeeper. If you look at the bowlers, it were the seamers who did well in both innings. Pandey took four in the first innings and three in the second. We have taken a lot of positives and have put pressure on them,” he said.
Rajput said he was impressed with Madhya Pradesh seamer Pandey, especially his work ethic. “He performed well in both the innings. He bowled very well in the one-dayers and now he did it in the ‘Test’. He troubled the batsmen with his outswingers. Apart from bowling a good outswinger, he has a good yorker. To top it all, he is very hardworking,” he added.
Asked whether he should be included in the senior team when they tour South Africa, Rajput said: “He has the potential and the ability, however, one cannot comment on that because there still is a lot of time to go,” he said.