Senior pros Murali Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane were dismissed cheaply but young guns Prithvi Shaw and Hanuma Vihari warmed up nicely for the Australia Test series with half-centuries for India A against New Zealand in the first unofficial ‘Test’.
At stumps on an opening day, India A scored 340 for five with Australia bound opener Shaw (62, 88 balls), middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari (86, 150 balls) and comeback man Parthiv Patel (79 batting, 111 balls) utilised the opportunity to the fullest.
However, opener Vijay (28, 64 balls) and Test vice-captain Rahane (12, 19 balls) found their defences breached by Blair Tickner and Doug Bracewell respectively.
In-form Vihari, who made his Test debut against England with a half-century, was dismissed in the last ball of the day. Vihari hit eight boundaries during his stay in the middle, while Patel has so far found the fence 10 times.
Also scoring a half-century was Mayank Agarwal (65), who came in at No 3. After the visitors opted to bat first, India A were given a fine start by Shaw and his senior partner Vijay.
The Mumbaikar then added exactly 50 runs for the second wicket with Agarwal, before he was dismissed by slow-left-arm spinner Theo van Woerkom. Vihari joined Agarwal in the middle and added 73 runs for the third wicket till the Karnataka player was bowled by medium pacer Blair Tickner.
Shaw struck six boundaries and a six in his 88-ball stay, while Agarwal hit 10 fours and two sixes. Skipper, Rahane did not last long but the duo of Vihari and Patel put together a stand of 138 runs for the sixth wicket to consolidate India A’s position at the Bay Oval.
Tickner was the most successful bowler for the hosts, finishing the day with 2/48 in 15 overs.