Yuvraj Singh knocked at the doors of national team selectors following a superb, quick-fire century (89-ball 123) to lead India 'A' to a thumping 77-run victory over West Indies 'A' in the first of the three-match One-day series, in Bangalore on Sunday.
Handed a lifeline to return to the ODI team by being named captain of India 'A', Yuvraj produced a sensational exhibition of strokeplay by hitting eight fours and seven sixes in his scintillating innings to help India raise 312 for four after being put to bat at the Chinnaswany Stadium.
The match was reduced to 42-over-a-side affair after a two-hour delayed start on account of wet outfield.
India 'A' then bowled out the visitors for 235 in 39.1 overs, giving the home side 1-0 lead in the series with the remaining two matches to be played at the same venue on September 17 and 19.
Chasing the formidable target, the visiting side lost the plot early on as they were reduced to 58 for three in the 11th over and after a brief recovery with a 54-run stand between Narsingh Deonarine (57) and Andre Fletcher (29), they again lost quick wickets to fold up at 235.
Ashley Nurse (57) was the other notable contributor for West Indies 'A' whose batsmen perished while playing shots for quick runs.
For India 'A', R Vinay Kumar, Rahul Sharma, Yusuf Pathan and Sumit Narwal grabbed two wickets each while Jaydev Unadkat got a wicket.
Earlier, Yuvraj tore apart the West Indies 'A' bowling attack as he unleashed his wide range of strokes after a cautious start.
The 31-year-old left-hander, who last played an international match in January, was simply superb with his drives on the up and also with the pull shots which all came with impeccable placement and timing.
Mandeep Singh and Yusuf Pathan -- who is also looking for a comeback to the ODI team -- played great supporting roles to Yuvraj to help themselves to 67 from 78 balls (7x4, 1x6) and 70 not out from 32 balls (4x4, 6x6) respectively.
Yuvraj was circumspect in the beginning as he took 39 balls to hit his first boundary and scored his fifty in 61 balls. But, in the next 19 balls he raced to his century as a torrent of fours and sixes followed from his blade as the visiting bowlers had no clue how to contain him.
India 'A', however, found themselves in a spot of bother after openers Unmukt Chand (1) and Robin Uthappa (23), who were in fine form against New Zealand A side earlier in the month, had returned to the pavilion with the scoreboard reading just 47.
Mandeep and Yuvraj shared a 100-run stand for the third wicket to resurrect the India 'A' innings before the former was out in the 31st over. Yuvraj then added 125 runs for the fourth wicket from just 55 balls with Yusuf, who is also looking for a national team comeback.
Yuvraj whacked Nikita Miller for three sixes and a four to collect 23 runs in the 25th over to reach to 90 and then raised his 18th List A hundred in style with a six off Ronsford Beaton in the 38th over. He took 24 runs off that over with two sixes and three fours.
Yusuf took the score past 300 with a late flurry of fours and sixes after Yuvraj was out in the 40th over.
Chasing a stiff target of 313 runs, the West Indies 'A' lost three quick wickets for just 58 runs as local lad Vinay Kumar struck twice. Nkruma Bonner gave keeper Naman Ojha a low catch off the very first over off Vinay after the opener had scored 16 with four boundaries to his credit.
Vinay and Narwal then accounted for captain Kieran Powell (17) and Kirk Edwards (19) respectively to leave the West Indies 'A' in tatters.
Andre Fletcher did not last long as he top-edged a Yusuf Pathan delivery for a simple catch to Unmukt Chand after scoring 29 runs with two fours and a six. Yusuf bagged another wicket by trapping Devon Thomas LBW for 10. Andre Russell was then run out for one and leg-spinner Rahul Sharma picked up the wickets of Narsingh Deonarine and Nikita Miller (2) in consecutive overs.
Unadkat got Ronsford Beaton (15) out for hit-wicket and then Narwal wrapped up the West Indies innings by claiming Ashley Nurse (57).
India ‘A’ innings: (42 overs maximum)
Robin Uthappa c Cummins b Russell 23
Unmukt Chand c Thomas b Cummins 1
Mandeep Singh b Miller 67
Yuvraj Singh c Beaton b Bonner 123
Yusuf Pathan not out 70
Naman Ojha not out 10
Extras: (LB-3, W-13, NB-2) 18
Total: (For 4 wkts in 42 overs) 312
Fall of Wickets: 1/8 2/47 3/147 4/272
Bowling: Miguel Cummins 9-1-50-1, Ronsford Beaton 8-0-72-0, Andre Russell 4-0-17-1, Nikita Miller 9-0-62-1, Ashley Nurse 6-0-58-0, Narsingh Deonarine 4-0-20-0, Nkrumah Bonner 2-0-30-1.
West Indies ‘A’ innings:
Nkrumah Bonner c Ojha b Vinay Kumar 16
Kieran Powell c Narwal b Vinay Kumar 17
Kirk Edwards c Ojha b Narwal 19
Narsingh Deonarine c Mandeep Singh b Sharma 57
Andre Fletcher c Chand b Pathan 29
Devon Thomas lbw b Pathan 10
Andre Russell run out (Vinay Kumar) 1
Ashley Nurse c Ojha b Narwal 57
Nikita Miller c & b Sharma 2
Ronsford Beaton b Unadkat 15
Miguel Cummins not out 4
Extras: (lb 3, w 4, nb 1) 8
Total: (all out in 39.1 overs) 235
Fall of wickets: 1-24, 2-47, 3-58, 4-112, 5-139, 6-140, 7-176, 8-181, 9-205, 10-235.
Bowling: Unadkat 6-0-41-1, Narwal 6.1-0-28-2, Vinay 7-0-42-2, Sharma 9-0-57-2, Pathan 7-0-47-2, Yuvraj 4-0-17-0.
Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters