A brilliant double century by Priyank Panchal (206) and a quick-fire ton by wicketkeeper KS Bharat (142 in 139 balls) helped India A take control against England Lions on the third day of the first unofficial Test Wayanad on Saturday.
India A declared their innings at 540/6 in reply to England Lions’ 340 to gain a massive 200-run lead, thanks to Panchal’s marathon knock, which came off 313 balls. Bharat’s blistering innings was studded with 11 fours and eight sixes.
Out-of-favour KL Rahul, who had a dismal tour of Australia, finally found his touch and was unbeaten on 88 at the close of play on Friday. But he could add only one run to his overnight score before spooning a catch to substitute Jamie Overton to give left-arm spinner Danny Briggs his first wicket.
Panchal, 89 not out overnight, played some eye-catching shots. He reached his 20th first class century and continued to torment the visiting bowlers mixing defence with attack. Though skipper Ankit Bawne, who nicked one to his counterpart Sam Billings off Zak Chappell and Ricky Bhui (16) didn’t last long, Panchal was at his best.
Panchal found an able partner in Bharat, who had been in decent form in the Ranji Trophy, and the duo added 196 runs in quick time. Bharat belted 11 fours to underline his talent as England Lions bowlers’ wilted under the assault.
Panchal fell shortly after completing his double century, edging a delivery from medium-pacer Chappell to Billings. Bharat continued to flay the Lions bowlers and reached his ton off 105 balls. In reply, England reached 20 without no loss before a downpour ended the day’s proceedings.
Brief scores: England Lions 340 (Ben Duckett 80, Will Jacks 63, Sam Hain 61; Navdeep Saini 5/79) and 20/0 vs India A 540/6 decl. (Priyank Panchal 206, KS Bharat 142, KL Rahul 89; Zak Chappell 3/105).