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SA batsmen strike form

Arundel: Opener Herschelle Gibbs was back to form, hitting a fine 79, as the South African top order warmed up for the Test series against England on the second day of the three-day match against India A on Sunday.

Replying to India’s first innings score of 319, South Africa reached 342 for five, a lead of 23 runs, at stumps with Jacques Rudolph top-scoring with 83. Boeta Dippenaar was batting on four with Shaun Pollock on nought.

Bowling to some of the world’s top batsmen, the India A bowlers struggled to make an impact for most part of the day before pace bowler Avishkar Salvi came up with two quick wickets of Rudolph and Mark Boucher just before close of the day’s play.

Gibbs, who was struggling to make runs after landing in England, and skipper Graeme Smith added 150 before the former was dismissed by left-arm spinner Murali Kartik. He was caught brilliantly down the leg side by wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel.

It was a sweet revenge for Kartik after the explosive batsman — who hit nine fours and two sixes in his 123-ball knock — had carted him twice over the ropes in one over.

Soon after left-arm quick Irfan Pathan trapped Smith plumb in front with the total on 164.

But the Indian bowlers were soon toiling hard as Gary Kirsten and Rudolph added 171 for the third wicket before the former was run out for 75.

Salvi finished the day with figures of two for 55 from 18 overs. Kartik, who bowled 25 overs, had one for 87 and Pathan took one for 55 from 18 overs.

On Saturday, India A’s innings was built around Wasim Jaffer’s courageous 90. Gautam Gambhir contributed 64. Pollock halted the Indian progress with a late charge, taking four for 46. (PTI)

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