Press Trust of India
Mysore, 28 September
Manpreet Juneja’s resolute knocks went in vain as India A succumbed to a humiliating 162-run defeat against the West Indies A in the first unofficial Test, giving away a 1-0 lead to the visitors in the three-match series here today.
Needing 314 runs to win the match after West Indies declared at their overnight second innings score of 130 for three, India were bundled out for 152 by first innings chief wreckers Nikita Miller and Veerasammy Permaul at the Gangothri Glades Cricket Grounds. The hosts were earlier dismissed for 245 in the first innings, giving West Indies a lead of 184 runs. The Indian top-order failed miserably with Manpreet Juneja being an exception with his 193-ball 70 after a first-innings effort of 84.
In the second innings, India lost half the side with a mere 90 runs on the board. Captain Cheteshwar Pujara (17) failed for the second time in the match, which proved quite crucial.
Openers Lokesh Rahul (9), Jiwanjyot Singh Chouhan (24) and Pujara (17) were dismissed cheaply but Juneja was the last man out after he scoring a brilliant 70 off 193 balls with four boundaries and a six.
The lower-order batsmen could not hang on with Juneja and lost their wickets after finding no answer to the mesmerising bowling by West Indies spinners. For West Indies, the match was set up by captain Kirk Edwards (91), Kraigg Braithwaite (90) and Assad Fadudin (86) with their brilliant half-centuries in the first innings, which helped the team amass 429 all out.
Riding high on such a huge total, West Indies bowlers, especially spinners, exploited the conditions effectively, hardly giving a chance to the Indian batsmen to settle down in both the innings. Left-arm orthodox spinner Nikita Miller was the pick of the West Indies bowler with figures of five for 40 for a match haul of nine wickets for 101 runs. Permaul, on the other hand, snapped up three wickets for a match haul of eight in a fine exhibition of spin bowling.
Right-arm off-break bowler Narsingh Denaraine was also handy with two crucial wickets of Rohit Motwani and Harshad Khadiwale.
In contrast, the Indian bowling was a great disappointment as Ashoke Dinda, Ishwar Pandey and Mohammad Shami did not fire in both the innings. They struggled to purchase wickets despite bowling 73 overs in the first innings for three wickets conceding 224 runs between them.
They went wicketless in the second innings as they failed to stick to a consistent line and length.
The two teams will now travel to Shimoga for the second unofficial Test which begins from 2 October.
After this defeat, India will look to turn the tables on West Indies with Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan, joining the team. But it would be easier said than done as Gambhir and Sehwag’s performance in the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy has not been encouraging.