After a rearguard fightback by Jalaj Saxena and Shardul Thakur with the bat, the India-A bowlers put the hosts in command by reducing the visitors to 125 for five at stumps on the second day of the unofficial Test match at the Sports Hub here on Tuesday.
The 100-run eighth-wicket stand between Jalaj Saxena (61 n.o.) and Shardul Thakur (34) gave India-A a handy lead of 139 runs after its first innings ended at 303.
All at sea
In the second innings, the South Africans were all at sea on a wicket which started helping the slow bowlers generously.
However, it was again the medium-pacers Mohammed Siraj and Shardul who shook South Africa early by dismissing the openers Pieter Malan (4) and Aiden Markram (4) cheaply.
But Zubayr Hamza (44) played with freedom and showed the technique to survive on the pitch until Ricky Bhui pulled off a brilliant reflex catch in the slips off Gowtham to end his stay.
It was left to Heinrich Klaasen (35 batting), who was dropped on 32, and Wiaan Mulder (12 batting) to survive an anxious final hour to push the match into the third day.
In the morning, the South Africa-A bowlers bounced back to reduce India-A to 199 for seven, before Jalaj and Shardul joined forces to thwart the South Africans
Ankeet Bawane fell early to Marco Jansen but both Shubman Gill (90) and K.S. Bharat (33) played fluently to add 44 for the fourth wicket.
But Dane Piedt produced the best ball of the India-A innings to clean up Shubman Gill when the batsmen looked set for a century.
The loopy off-break beat Gill in the flight and ball cannoned on to the stumps through the gap as the batsmen lunged forward.
Then fast bowlers Lungi Ngidi and Lutho Sipamla, in a sustained spell of aggression, broke the back of the Indian middle-order.
First, Ngidi had Shivam Dube (8) caught down the legside by ’keeper Klaasen. Then, Sipamla had the well settled Bharat edging a catch to Hamza in the slips and then yorked Gowtham for a duck.
Jalaj, who opened his account after 40 balls, changed gears when the tired South African bowlers offered him loose deliveries.
However Ngidi trapped Shardul in front and Piedt, with a double strike, hustled the end.
South Africa-A — 1st innings: 164.
India-A — 1st innings: Ruturaj Gaikwad b Jansen 30, Shubman Gill b Piedt 90 , Ricky Bhui b Ngidi 26, Ankeet Bawane b Jansen 6, K.S. Bharat c Hamza b Sipamla 33, Shivam Dube c Klaasen b Ngidi 8, Jalaj Saxena (not out) 61, K. Gowtham b Sipamla 0, Shardul Thakur lbw b Ngidi 34, Shahbaz Nadeem st Klaasen b Piedt 0, Mohammed Siraj st Klaasen b Piedt 0; Extras (b-7, lb-4, nb-4): 15; Total (in 87.5 overs): 303.
Fall of wickets: 1-48, 2-106, 3-133, 4-177, 5-194, 6-199, 7-199, 8-299, 9-303.
South Africa-A bowling: Ngidi 16-3-50-3, Sipamla 15-5-46-2, Jansen 15-3-59-2, Piedt 25.5-4-84-3, Mulder 9-2-32-0, Muthuswamy 7-1-21-0.
South Africa-A 2nd innings: Pieter Malan b Siraj 4, Aiden Markram c Bharat b Shardul 4, Zubayr Hamza c Bhui b Gowtham 44, Khayelihle Zondo c Bharat b Nadeem 10, Senuran Muthuswamy lbw b Nadeem 4, Heinrich Klaasen (batting) 35, Wiaan Mulder (batting) 12; Extras (nb-2, b-8, lb-2): 12; Total (for five wkts. in 35 overs): 125.
Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-14, 3-38, 4-52, 5-94.
India-A bowling: Siraj 6-1-18-1, Shardul 7-1-28-1, Nadeem 9-3-13-2, Dube 4-0-14-0, Gowtham 6-1-28-1, Jalaj 3-0-14-0.