Rustenburg: India A crushed South Africa A by an innings and 13 runs on the fourth and final day of the first unofficial Test, here, at the Olympia Park, on Tuesday, to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
Captain Cheteshwar Pujara was named Man of the Match, as it was his brilliant 137 that laid the foundation of India A’s huge first innings total, which proved to be beyond reach of South Africa A batsmen. Bowlers continued to impress, shooting the South Africans out for 212 in their second innings after having enforced the follow-on.
Pacers Shami Ahmed (three for 29) and Ishwar Pandey (three for 25) shared six wickets between themselves as part-timers in Rohit Sharma (two for 19) and Suresh Raina (one for 39) too featured in the wickets column to make India A’s task easier.
Apart from middle-order batsman Temba Bavuma, who top-scored with 65, none of the others were able to put up even a semblance of resistance. Some of them did get off to a positive start, but never looked as if they could bat throughout the day and deny their rivals a victory.
Earlier in the day, when South Africa A resumed at 312 for nine, the last pair — Kyle Abbott (33 not out) and Andrew Birch — too had made some effort to try and avoid a follow-on.
The partnership, though, couldn’t add more than 45 runs as Raina trapped Birch leg before as South Africa A finished their first innings at 357. Shami then struck twice in the sixth over, removing Dean Elgar and following it up with the prised wicket of Jean-Paul Duminy in a space of four deliveries.
Duminy’s dismissal — that too, for nought — was a killer blow to his team’s chances of saving the match. It was Duminy who had raised hopes of saving the follow-on with his valiant 84 on Monday.