Saurabh Kumar takes five-for as India A clinch ‘Test series’ with 113-run win | Cricket News

BENGALURU: Left arm spinner Saurabh Kumar grabbed five wickets to play a big part in India’s A-series as they secured the 113-run victory over New Zealand A in the third and final ‘unofficial test’ here on Sunday.
The target of 416 was out of the question but New Zealand A at one point appeared to be trying to play for a draw before losing the last five wickets for under 50 to be knocked out for 302 in 85.2 overs .
Saurabh, who has been on the sidelines for the senior national team, recorded figures of 5/103 from 27.2 overs and a match-haul of nine wickets, having picked up four in the opening innings.
The interesting aspect of Saurabh’s scalps had all come via front leg decision, with at least three arm balls for right-handers.
Sarfaraz Khan (2/48), who had a disappointing streak with the bat, played an important hand as his legs got rid of the senior international Marc Chapman (45), who shared 82 runs for the fourth wicket with centurion Joe Carter (111).
More than runs, the pair had batted for 20 overs and led the game in the second session with New Zealand A comfortably placed at 197 for three.
Chapman was holed while trying to attack Sarfaraz. The bowler secured a second wicket with a googly which trapped Robert O’Donnell (19) up front.
Once New Zealand A were 222/5 with a few more hours to play, it became easier for Saurabh to increase the pressure as he began to attack the stumps more, forcing the Black Caps second team to go on the defensive.
Carter, who defied the Indian attack, was finally cleared by Mukesh Kumar before Saurabh came back to trap Jacob Duffy’s leg before.
Patidar, Mukesh shine bright
While the first two ‘tests’ were cut short due to rain, India’s batting was satisfactory throughout the series, with nearly every specialty hitter among the runs.
Skipper Priyank Panchal scored two half centuries and a near 50 (47) while opening partner Abhimanyu Easwaran had a hundred in the opener.
But the man who looked above the rest was Rajat Patidar, who may well outclass Sarfaraz Khan in the long run when it comes to India’s appeal.
Patidar, who shot to instant stardom after the last IPL, was apart in his first India A series with two hundred in three games.
While Ruturaj Gaikwad redeemed himself in the last game with a century and 94, Sarfaraz is the only one to miss points scored when it mattered.
Despite scoring an attacking half century in the last Indian rounds, Sarfaraz would be the first to know that he didn’t score those points under pressure.
Among the bowlers, Bengal man Mukesh Kumar was the surprise as he consistently troubled the New Zealand batters with the new ball in all matches. Saurabh also held on to the Test squad with this performance.
Short scores: India A 293 and 359/7 decl v New Zealand A 237 and (target 416) 302 (Joe Carter 111, Mark Chapman 45, Saurabh Kumar 5/103, Sarfaraz Khan 2/48).

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