Skipper Shubman Gill missed out on a hundred but Jalaj Saxena scored a defiant unbeaten 61 to help India A take the lead against South Africa A and then reduce them to 125/5 at the end of Day 2 in the first unofficial Test on Tuesday. Gill scored 90 from 153 balls (13×4, 1×6) as Saxena also gave his skipper support after India ‘A’ were reduced to 199/7 at one stage. Saxena’s gritty innings helped the hosts post 303 and take a 139-run lead.

In the first innings, South Africa ‘A’ managed a paltry 164 and a similar script followed in their second dig as a top-order collapse reduced them to five down at stumps. Resuming at 129/2, India ‘A’ lost wickets at regular intervals with pacer Lungi Ngidi and off-spinner Dane Piedt picking up three wickets each. But Gill added to his overnight score and looked good for a hundred before pacer Marco Jansen cleaned him up.

Saxena then carried on the good work with a brisk 61 from 96 balls, his unconquered knock laced with 11 fours. A century partnership between all-rounder Saxena and Shardul Thakur (34) helped open up a potentially decisive lead.

The visitors were then tottering at 52/4 after Mohammed Siraj opened the floodgates by dismissing Pieter Malan in the first over and Aiden Markram followed a few overs later, caught behind by K.S. Bharat off Shardul Thakur.

Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem then removed Khaya Zondo and Muthusamy to further dent the tourists. But opener Zubayr Hamza (44) and Henrich Klaasen joined hands for a 42-run stand to stem the rot, before Hamza was out. At close, wicketkeeper-batsman Klaasen (35 batting) and Wiaan Mulder (12 batting) were at the crease.

Brief Scores: South Africa A 164 & 125/5 (Heinrich Klaasen 35*; Shahbaz Nadeem 2/13); India ‘A’ 303 (Shubman Gill 90, Jalaj Saxena 61*; Lungi Ngidi 3/50)