Yuvraj Singh, quite clearly, wants to get back into the Indian team.
On Sunday, he a made his intentions clear with a brutal knock. The southpaw’s 123 and his 125-run stand with Yusuf Pathan no less than savage during his unbeaten 70 off 32 balls helped India ‘A’ beat the West Indies ‘A’ by 77 runs in the first one-day game at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium here.
India scored 312 for four at 7.42 runs per over after a wet pitch delayed the start of play and reduced the match to a 42-overs-a-side affair. The visitors were never really up for the chase and were bowled out for 235 in 39.1 overs.
The 89-ball ton (8x4, 7x6) was Yuvraj’s first three-figure score in 29 innings in any format. His last ton, a 131 in Punjab colours, came against Madhya Pradesh in Gwalior in December 2012.
The dampness in the pitch may have prompted Kieran Powell to put the hosts in, and his bowlers reduced India to 47/2 in 11.4 overs. While Unmukt Chand managed just a run, Robin Uthappa batted well before falling for 23 (37 balls, 2x4). Mandeep Singh held it all together with a classy 67-run knock (78 balls, 7x4, 1x6).
Mandeep was batting with flair when Yuvraj joined him in the middle. The senior pro was, however, content playing second fiddle to his statemate. He started off cautiously, but eventually opened up to get to his half century off 60 deliveries.
Thereon, it was a different Yuvraj on display. The next 50 took just 20 balls!
Mandeep’s dismissal he was bowled by Nikita Miller brought Pathan to the crease. The Baroda right-hander, too, made a statement of intent with whirlwind knock.
With Yuvraj belting the bowlers, Pathan was in no mood to stay quiet. Spinner Ashley Nurse was dispatched for three sixes and two fours in the 37th over, which yielded 28 runs.
Later, wickets at regular intervals put the visitors on the back foot. Narsingh Deonarine scored 57 (63 balls, 6x4, 1x6) and so did Nurse (50 balls, 6x4, 2x6), but the West Indians fell well short.