India A took control of the second unofficial Test match against West Indies A thanks to a five-wicket haul by K Gowtham and a 150-run opening stand between Priyank Panchal and Mayank Agarwal which put them on course of victory on day three.
With 278 runs needed for a win, India A were 185/3 at stumps on Friday, needing 93 more runs with seven wickets in hand. Abhimanyu Eswaran and Anmolpreet Singh were the two unbeaten batsmen for India A at the Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain.
Both openers gave India A an ideal start to the chase on a tricky wicket that saw 19 wickets fall on day two. But Panchal and Agarwal played with control and added 150 runs in 40 overs.
The wicket slowed down as the day progressed and West Indies A bowlers struggled to get pace and bounce out of it. Both India A openers played strong shots from the off-side. Agarwal was the aggressor of the two and both rotated the strike consistently.
Left-arm pacer Raymon Reifer finally broke the partnership when he dismissed Panchal for 68. Coming around the wicket, the angled the delivery into Panchal but it straightened enough to beat his bat and hit the top of off-stump.
Agarwal, however, was looking good to score a century but Chemar Holder had him caught behind down the leg-side. A disappointed Agarwal could not believe the way he got out as he had edged a full delivery down the leg-side.
Holder struck again in his next over and removed India A captain Hanuma Vihari who tried to poke at a delivery wide outside off-stump. The edge flew to the second slip as Vihrai walked back to the pavillion after scoring just one run.
But Eswaran and Anmolpreet managed to save India A of further damage and ended a good day for their team.
Earlier, Gowtham picked up five wickets for 17 runs from his 7.5 overs as India A bowled West Indies A out for 149 in the second innings. The hosts had resumed at 12/4 and it was Sunil Ambris’ innings of 71 which took them past 100.
The 55-run stand between Ambris and Jermaine Blackwood was the only partnership which helped West Indies recover from the disastrous start. Ambris played sensible cricket and hit 10 boundaries in his innings. The partnership was broken by Shivam Dube when he had Blackwood caught by Eswaran.
It was only a struggle from there on for the hosts as left-arm spinner Gowtham removed the tail in a hurry. He first removed Shane Dorwich for five and then bowled Reifer two balls later.
A small partnership between Rakheem Cornwall and Ambris did begin but Gowtham removed the former with West Indies A’s score at 118. Ambris was the penultimate wicket to fall in the 40th over.
Gowtham picked up his fifth wicket when Holder was caught by Sandeep Warrior on the final delivery of the 40th over.