Stylish left-hander Vijay Zol carried his stupendous form at the Under-19 level to first-class cricket, scoring a fluent century on debut, as the three-day encounter between India 'A' and New Zealand 'A' ended in a draw, in Visakhapatnam, on Friday.
Replying to New Zealand's total of 310, India 'A' scored 388 for 7, courtesy Zol's 110 and skipper Abhishek Nayar's unbeaten 102.
The two umpires called time in the 94th over after Nayar (102 not out) reached his 12th first-class century. He faced 110 balls and hit 14 boundaries and a six.
The day, however, belonged to 18-year-old Zol, who hit 19 boundaries in his 153-ball knock. The Maharashtra batsman is carrying the good form he showed at the Under-19 level on the tours of Australia and Sri Lanka.
For one playing his first longer version match at the first-class level, Zol impressed with technique and temperament. He found the gaps at will against seamers Mark Gillespie and Doug Bracewell and used his feet to good effect against leg-break bowlers Ish Sodhi and Todd Astle.
He shared a few fruitful partnerships of 77 runs for the third wicket with opener Jiwanjot Singh (48), 97 runs for the fourth wicket with Manpreet Juneja (43) and 60 with skipper Nayar for the fifth wicket.
Medium pacer Carl Cachopa finally dismissed Zol as he played to a wrong line and was bowled.
Nayar found an ally in CM Gautham (16) and they added 56 runs for the seventh wicket as the India ‘A’ skipper to a half-century.
India's bowling hero Jalaj Saxena (10) was dismissed cheaply as India were 351 for seven, but Dhawal Kulkarni (7 not out) provided support as Nayar inched towards his century.
On a slow track at the Port Trust stadium, the two New Zealand leggies Sodhi (2/100 in 23.5 overs) and Astle (3/106 in 18 overs) accounted for five wickets while Bracewell (1/48) and Cachopa (1/56) got a wicket each.
New Zealand: 310 in 77.3 overs (Luke Ronchi 125, Todd Astle 63, Jalaj Saxena 6/106).
India: 388/7 in 93.5 overs (Vijay Zol 110, Abhishek Nayar 102 not out, Jiwanjot Singh 48, Todd Astle 3/106, Ish Sodhi 2/100).
Result: Match Drawn
Image: Vijay Zol