Visakhapatnam, 11 September
Having taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the unofficial One-Day Internationals series, India A will aim at a clean sweep when they take on New Zealand A in the last match here tomorrow.
Led by Unmukt Chand, India A have dominated the three-match contest, thrashing the visitors by six wickets in the first two games.
Their victory yesterday sealed the series and the hosts might now look to test their bench strength, letting spinner Jalaj Saxena and batsman Sanju Samson play.
Chand has, so far, led his team from the front, scoring 94 and 59, and his opening partner, Robin Uthappa, hit a century in the first match.
The U-19 World Cup-winning captain scripted a good comeback after his twin failures in the Test series. He tops the list of run-scorers in the limited-over series now. Uthappa, out of the senior national squad, would be hoping to produce another sparkling show ahead of the limited-over series against the West Indies and South Africa. Though the hosts’ middle-order batsmen had had little to do in the first match, they did well in the second ODI, with Mandeep Singh, Kedar Jadhav and Ashok Maneria rising to the occasion. While Singh scored a confident 59, adding 89 runs off 103 balls for the third wicket with skipper Chand, Jadhav and left-hander Maneria contributed an unbeaten 30 and 37, respectively.
Maneria, in fact, turned out to be the most valuable player, grabbing a five-wicket haul to restrict the visiting side.
The other bowlers, led by paceman Dhawal Kulkarni, too bowled a disciplined line, keeping the scoring rate of New Zealand A batsmen under control. Kulkarni has taken five wickets so far and spinner Rahul Sharma, three.
New Zealand, on the other hand, would look to restore some pride by putting up a better show in the final ODI.
Their top-order batsmen have frittered away good starts, though Carl Cachopa and DJ Mitchell have come good with the bat, scoring 125 and 61, respectively, in the series. While Cachopa made 80 yesterday to go with his 45 in the first ODI, opener Anton Devcich failed to deliver in the second ODI after scoring 48 in first installment of the One-Day series. Luke Ronchi (13 & 34) and Tom Latham (37 & 18) have had good starts, but big scores eluded them. Adam Milne (four) has been the best New Zealand bowler, and Mark Gillespie has two wickets in his bag.