KL Rahul scored only 13 on his return from suspension but India A sealed the series against England Lions with a comfortable 60-run win, taking an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series, PTI reported.
In a low-scoring encounter, India A could manage only 172 in 47.1 overs but then did well enough to bowl out Lions for 112 in only 30.5 overs. On a slow deck, it was left-arm spinners Krunal Pandya (4/21 in 5.5 overs) and Axar Patel (2/26 in overs) who inflicted a bulk of the damage.
If Axar dealt the opening blows, Player-of-the-match Pandya polished the lower-half after chipping in with useful 21 runs. Pacer Deepak Chahar also made an important contribution for India A with 39 off 65 balls, taking his side from a dire 110/7 to 172 after skipper Ajinkya Rahane (0) and Rahul were dismissed cheaply at the top of the order.
All eyes were on Rahul, was suspended provisionally following a controversial episode in TV show Koffee with Karan alongside India teammate Hardik Pandya.
The Karnataka opener didn’t do himself any favours on his return as he looked rusty during his stay at the crease. His 13 off 25 balls had two boundaries but he was unable to find the gaps during the powerplay overs.
It was seamer Jamie Overton who dismissed him, caught by Zachariah Chappell. Rahul, considered to be a favourite of the Indian team management, will still get two more shots in the ongoing A series.
They are undecided on the reserve opener’s slot and Rahane, with scores of 59 and 91 in the first two games, has made a case for himself. In the final two matches, wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant will be opening the batting as he is also a strong candidate for the World Cup berth.
Brief Scores: India A 172 in 47.1 overs (Deepak Chahar 39, Ishan Kishan 30, Krunal Pandya 21, Jamie Overton 3/34) beat England Lions 112 in 30.5 overs (Ben Duckett 39, Ollie Pope 27, Krunal Pandya 4/21, Axar Patel 2/26) by 60 runs.