NEW ZEALAND A drew with INDIA A
Hagley Oval, Christchurch
30 January - 2 February 2020
After a long, tough couple of days in the field, India A finally got to enjoy themselves on the final day of the first A series first-class match in Christchurch.
India A number four Shubman Gill produced an unbeaten double century while first drop Priyank Panchal struck 115 off 164 and Test regular Hanuma Vihari (100*) backed up his first-innings half century with an unbeaten ton as well in the first-class runfest.
The opening first-class match between NZ A and India A has finished in a draw at Hagley Oval. Gill 204* and Vihari 100* not out for India at the end of the 4th day. The next match starts at Bert Sutcliffe Oval on Friday. VIDEO scorecard | https://t.co/b3an3PTuEP #NZAvINDA pic.twitter.com/jVlL5jGV9D— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) February 2, 2020
Their combined efforts swept India A to a tally of 448 for three on a day destined to provide little more than quality batting practice ahead of the upcoming Test Series, before the captains shook hands in the final session.
Dane Cleaver reached his highest first-class score in dramatic style ahead of a New Zealand A declaration against India A.
Having resumed on 111 not out, Cleaver glided past his previous first class best of 151* before threatening to bound from 190 to a maiden double hundred in the space of two balls.
DANE CLEAVER's 1âƒ£9âƒ£6âƒ£ for #NZA v India 🅰ï¸ is his new first-class career best, a massive knock from our keeper-batsman in a 268-stand for the 6th + 114-stand for the 7th. Scorecard: https://t.co/9y92VokR43#GoDaney | #LoveTheStags | #NZvIND | #NZAvINDA pic.twitter.com/rYAUTJg7Wf— Central Stags 🏏 (@CentralStags) February 1, 2020
He had just hooked Ishan Porel exuberantly for six to reach 196* and, advancing down the crease this time, tried it again the very next ball, only to fall caught just shy of the magic maiden double ton milestone.
Even so, it had been a standout performance in the Central Stag's first New Zealand A innings of the summer.
Earlier in the day, his Hagley Oval record sixth-wicket partnership with Mark Chapman had reached its zenith at 268, Chapman going on to his own first-class century against India A, to sit nicely with a List A ton in his previous game against them in last week's one-dayers.
Having resumed on 85*, the Aucklander's 100 came off 206 balls and included 10 boundaries after more than five hours in the middle.
Chapman went on to reach a career-best 114 before Vijay Shankar finally broke the epic stand.
Neither Cleaver nor New Zealand A was done, however, as Cole McConchie - having sat padded up for hours - joined the incumbent centurion and quickly injected an unbeaten half century in a 114-run stand for the seventh.
Cleaver picked up the pace, too, sensing declaration in the air as New Zealand A kept piling on the runs in their mammoth total.
Having hit 15 boundaries in his first hundred, he finished with 20 of them and a six, in a career-defining innings that lasted more than eight hours.
Captain Hamish Rutherford called them in shortly after Cleaver's dismissal at 562 for seven: New Zealand A's third highest first-class score at home.
By stumps, India A was still trailing by 219 in the second innings, having reached 127 for two, after having been 46 for one at tea.
Surprise package Michael Rae had promptly picked up his fifth for the match, opening batsman Mayank Agarwal suffering a golden duck as he was caught behind by Cleaver.
Fellow opener Abhimanyu Easwaran (26) then formed a 58-stand for the second with Priyank Panchal before becoming the only wicket to fall in the final session, spinner Ajaz Patel breaking through.
Panchal will head into the final day on 67 not out and Shubman Gill 33 not out in a 68-run stand for the third, with plenty of work to be done yet to stave off their hosts.
In a match strewn with centuries, it was Panchal's 24th first-class hundred, Gill's sixth and Vihari's 20th, while Gill and Vihari's 222-run stand for the fourth set a new record for the highest fourth-wicket partnership on Hagley Oval, breaking a mark that had been set by BLACKCAPS Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls against Sri Lanka last season.
New Zealand A is in a strong position midway through the first of two first-class four-dayers against the visiting India A side, ahead of the BLACKCAPS' Test series.
The highest first-class sixth-wicket stand ever seen on Hagley Oval was the highlight of day two after an unbeaten century from Central Stags wicketkeeper-batsman Dane Cleaver (111*) who combined with an undefeated Mark Chapman, the Auckland Ace heading to stumps on 85 not out.
Dane Cleaver! The @CentralStags keeper 111* leading NZ A to 385/5 at the close of day 2 at Hagley Oval with @aucklandcricket's Mark Chapman 85*. A lead of 169 over India A. VIDEO scorecard | https://t.co/b3an3PTuEP #NZAvINDA pic.twitter.com/IaQoijs9lf— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) January 31, 2020
Their partnership has reached 209* overnight, taking New Zealand A's first innings lead to 169 with five wickets still in hand.
It was Cleaver's first century for New Zealand A and the fifth of his overall first-class career, the pair having batted throughout the last two sessions of the day to see their country to 385 for five by stumps.
Earlier, opening batsman Will Young carried on from his overnight 26* to reach a half century in his first first-class appearance since his return from off season shoulder surgery.
The classy centrally contracted batsman had assistance from nightwatchman and Stags teammate Ajaz Patel who reminded all of his batting ability as he punched three sixes off a single Mohammed Siraj over en route to a lively contribution of 38.
India A struck back in the hour before lunch, picking up Young, Glenn Phillips and Patel cheaply to peg their hosts back to 183/5, after New Zealand had been ticking along nicely at 160/2 by drinks.
Cleaver and Chapman then joined forces, however, to leave India A chasing leather for the remaining two sessions.
Sent in by New Zealand A captain Hamish Rutherford, India A's first-class tour got off to a rocky start.
Rutherford's Volts teammate Jacob Duffy struck twice inside the first 16 overs while Auckland Aces allrounder Sean Solia put his military-style action to good use on the other side of the opening attack, removing Abhimanyu Easwaran at 28 for two.
Duffy had already picked up Mayank Agarwal, caught by Will Young for no score, and when he put a stop to Priyank Panchal's brisk start, India A was lurching at 34/3 at Hagley Oval.
The visitors urgently needed a partnership and they got one from Shubman Gill (a run-a-ball 83) and captain Hanuma Vihari (51 off 79) who each struck half centuries while none of the remaining India A batsmen managed to contribute more than 18.
The pair put on 119 for the fourth wicket before Vihari was dismissed in unusual fashion, sweeping the ball straight into Rachin Ravindra's knee at silly mid-on, the ball rebounding back towards the batsman where it was snaffled up by ice-cool keeper Dane Cleaver.
Ouch Rachin! 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/1fRsMuLOas— Wellington Firebirds (@wgtnfirebirds) January 30, 2020
From 183 for five, India A disintegrated to be all out for just 216 at tea. After breaking through with Gill's wicket in the 44th, paceman Michael Rae carried on to finish with 4-54 on New Zealand A debut, while Canterbury's Cole McConchie netted 3-33 with his spin.
By stumps, New Zealand A had made a good start in reply, opening batsman Will Young reaching 26* with nightwatchman Ajaz Patel, New Zealand A having just lost first drop Rachin Ravindra on 47.
Slaying seven boundaries, Ravindra had been looking good for a half century before being caught off Mohammed Siraj, while captain Hamish Rutherford had started solidly before Ishan Porel struck, removing him on 28 at 35 for one.
Extra Cover: See all the results of the One-Day Series between the teams here