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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Pujara's century lifts India 'A' on Day 1 vs SA 'A'

Pujara's century lifts India 'A' on Day 1 vs SA 'A'

Last updated on: August 17, 2013 22:12 IST

Skipper Cheteshwar Pujara hit a scintillating 140 as India 'A' posted 281 for three against South Africa 'A' at stumps on the opening day of the first unofficial Test in Rustenberg, on Saturday.

Pujara cracked 17 fours in his 205-ball innings and forged a 176-run partnership with Rohit Sharma (70) for the third wicket to put India 'A' in a solid position in the four-day match.

Pujara, who won the toss and elected to bat, also added 66 runs for the second wicket with opener Murali Vijay (44) at Olympia Park.

The Saurashtra batsman was ably supported by Sharma, whose unbeaten 159-ball innings was studded with eight fours and a six.

At stumps, Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane (11) were at the crease.

Earlier, opener Shikhar Dhawan (11) took time to see off the initial phase but the Delhi batsman could not stay longer at the crease, getting dismissed by Simon Harmer.

Cheteshwar PujaraHarmer induced a edge from the left-handed batsman to Reeza Hendricks at first slip. Dhawan had just one six to show in his 46-ball innings.

Vijay, however, looked in good touch right from the beginning and along with Pujara steadied the ship after the fall of Dhawan. He was dismissed by Andrew Birch when he had
him caught by Harmer at second slip in the 38th over. His 115-ball innings was laced with six fours and a six.

Pujara and Sharma then joined hands and kept their opposition busy, picking up singles and twos and also put away the bad balls for boundaries.

The duo made the South Africa 'A' bowlers toil hard in the post lunch session and took the total to 147 for two at tea.

After the break, Pujara and Sharma kept the scoreboard ticking and had no problem in getting boundaries. Both the batsmen picked up seven boundaries each and scored 123 runs between them.

Pujara was finally dismissed when he played and missed a delivery from Wayne Parnell in the 84th over as India 'A' slipped to 270 for three.

Vijay had given the visitors a solid start as he started the proceedings with a cover drive off Parnell in the second over. He picked up another boundary off Birch in the 14th over.

The Tamil Nadu batsman hit Harmer for a boundary and a six off successive deliveries. The 29-year-old repeated his act in the 23rd over by Harmer when he first drove one through covers and then swept another delivery to the boundary.

Harmer was also at the receiving end of Pujara when the Saurashtra batsman pulled him over square leg and then cut him through the point region in his consecutive overs.

Pacer Kylie Abbott too bleeded runs as both Pujara and Vijay picked up a boundary each off him.

Pujara went berserk and cut Parnell through point and gully area before picking up another four at the point region. In the 35th over, he once again stole runs off Abbott when he flicked him to the fine leg region for a four.

Birch gave the hosts the much-needed breakthrough when he had Vijay caught by Harmer at second slip in the 38th over.

Rohit Sharma then joined Pujara in the middle and just before the drinks, the India 'A' skipper sent Birch across the fine leg area for another four.

Sharma picked up his first boundary too against Birch when he drove him through the covers.

Pujara reached his half-century when he edged a Birch delivery but it fall short off the gully fielder and raced away to the boundary before he hit Harmer for a six over mid-on.

Pujara hit boundary off Parnell and then sent Duminy through the covers for another four in the 58th over just before the tea break.

After the interval, Pujara and Sharma continued their good run and didn't allow the bowlers to dominate in anyway. In the 73rd over, Sharma and Pujara reached their personal
milestone as they completed their half-century and century respectively.

Parnell finally took the wicket off Pujara but by then it was too late.

Scoreboard:

India 'A' 1st innings
Shikhar Dhawan c Hendricks b Harmer11
Murali Vijay c Harmer b Birch 44
Cheteshwar Pujara b Parnell 140
Rohit Sharma not out 70
Ajinkya Rahane not out 11

Extras: (b:3, lb:1, nb:1) 5

Total: (for three wickets in 90 overs) 281

Fall of wickets: 1-28, 2-94, 3-270.

Bowling: Kyle Abbott 17-7-43-0; Wayne Parnell 18-6-47-1; Andrew Birch 19-5-42-1; Simon Harmer 25-2-88-1; JP Duminy 5-0-26-0; J Ontong 3-0-16-0; D Elgar 3-0-15-0.

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