| Jacob Oram in action in Rajkot on Friday
Rajkot: Opening batsman Sadagopan Ramesh staked his claim for a Test recall with a fine 110 as India A reached 216 for four in their first innings on the second day of the three-day match against New Zealand on Friday.
Replying to New Zealandís first innings total of 375 for seven declared, the Indians were off to a good start, thanks to a 164-run stand for the opening wicket between Ramesh and Akash Chopra (66 off 136 balls, 13x4).
A slump in the middle-order cost India A three quick wickets, including that of another prospective opener Connor Williams (4) and skipper Mohammed Kaif (4) but Ramesh stood his ground to stem the rot before being caught by New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming off Darryl Tuffey after facing 206 balls.
At the close, Hemang Badani was batting on seven with Murali Kartik was on four.
It was imperative for India A to put up a good show with the bat as the bowlers had allowed the visitors to pile runs at will. And the India A did not disappoint.
Ramesh, who was dropped on 96 at first slip by Scot Styris, got to the three-figure mark when he pushed the same player to mid-off for a couple. His century came off 190 balls in 252 minutes and included 18 hits to the fence.
The Tamil Nadu left-hander was undeterred in his shot making by the fall of his partner Chopra, who was caught by Paul Wiseman in the deep while trying to hook Jacob Oram.
India A lost two more quick wickets, that of Williams and Kaif who must be disappointed as he was keen to make an impression and break into the Test squad.
Williams was caught by Styris in the slips off Daniel Vettori while Kaif was caught by wicketkeeper Robbie Hart down the leg side while trying to glance the same bowler.
What stood out on the day was the contrast in batting styles of Ramesh and Chopra. While Ramesh played with flamboyance, Chopra played a surprisingly subdued knock.
Chopra, who scored a hundred in the washed-out match against the visitors in Visakhapatnam, took 40 minutes to open his account after facing 30 deliveries.
But Ramesh was timing well right from the word go and did not spare any of the New Zealand bowlers. He was particularly severe on Jacob Oram and Vettori, cutting and driving them at will. He also scored freely off Styris and reached his 50 with a hook off Craig McMillan which also brought up India Aís 100. (PTI)