Sri Lanka 'A' nearly turned tables on a jittery India 'A' even as the first of the three four-day Test matches between the two teams ended in an exciting draw on the final day at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad, on Wednesday.
Set to chase 184 in 31 overs, the hosts apparently buckled under pressure and lost four wickets, including that of skipper Shiv Sundar Das, as the top-order batsmen executed unwarranted shots in a bid to reach the target.
Das, who skied a simple catch to Nawaz at mid-on in the seventh over, was followed into the pavilion by Hemang Badani, who was clean bowled off the very first ball he faced. Lankan pacer T Lakshitha accounted for both the wickets.
Mohammed Kaif, however, hit a gritty 50 not out and was well-supported by keeper Ajay Ratra (26 not out) as the Indians ended at 102 for 5, after the innings was panting at 47 for four at one stage.
Earlier, Lankans were bowled out for 308, minutes before tea after resuming their overnight score at 196 for four.
Skipper Naveed Nawaz was unfortunate not to get a hundred, after he was caught by Gambhir off Ramesh Powar for 92.
However, Anushka Pollonwita (41, 153b) and tailender O Wijisiriwardane (19, 91b), frustrated the Indian bowlers. Speedster Munaf Patel and Powar shared three wickets each.
Frustration was evident, as Patel was warned by the umpire after he hurled a ball that was played defensively by Lankan tailender Omesh Wijesiriwardane. The ball bounced and hit the helmet of batsmen, prompting umpire Devendra Sharma to ask the Gujarat speedster to keep his cool.
Sri Lanka 'A' Ist innings: 244
India 'A' Ist innings: 369
Sri Lanka 'A' 2nd Innings:
P Jayawardane b Powar 76
I Daniel c Ratra b Patel 16
Jehan Mubarak lbw b Trivedi 2
Naveed Nawaz c Gambhir b Powar 92
Lanka De Silva lbw b Trivedi 3
T Kandamby c Ratra b Patel 22
A Polonowita c Ratra b Patel 41
R Herath c Badani b Powar 10
O Wijesiwardene c Bhandari b Powar 19
T Lakshitha lbw b Patel 9
L Marlinga not out 0
Extras (b-8, lb-5, nb-5) 18
Total (all out in 132.4 overs) 308
Fall of wickets: 1-46, 2-49, 3-143, 4-154, 5-214, 6-238, 7-252, 8-296, 9-308.
Bowling: Munaf Patel 22-2-70-4, Amit Bhandari 26-5-63-0, Siddharth Trivedi 20-5-51-2, Ramesh Powar 41.4-17-60-4, Rohan Gavaskar 2-0-6-0, S Sriram 16-7-30-0, Hemang Badani 2-0-9-0, Gambhir 3-0-6-0.
India 'A' 2nd Innings:
S S Das c Nawaz b Lakshita 11
G Gambhir c Kandamby b Marlinga 5
M Kaif not out 50
H Badani b Lakshita 0
S Sriram c Daniel b Marlinga 4
R Gavaskar c Jayawardene b Marlinga 13
A Ratra not out 13
Extras: (nb 6) 6
Total: (For 5 wkts in 24 overs) 102
Fall of wickets: 1-9, 2-32, 3-32, 4-47, 5-74.
Bowling: Lakshita 6-0-31-2, Marlinga 10-0-43-3, Polonwita 1-0-6-0, Herath 5-0-13-0, Wijewsiriwardene 2-0-9-0.