NEW ZEALAND A v INDIA A
Second first-class fixture
23-26 November 2018
Seddon Park, Hamilton
Under overcast skies India A's opening pair resumed on the fourth morning at seven for no loss and put together a 50-wicket stand inside the first hour before showers returned to chase all players off the park.
By then they had got 71 on the board with young Abhimanyu Easwaran 28* and Mayank Agarwal 39*, but on 42 Agarwal became the first wicket to fall when the players got back on after lunch, departing to right-arm paceman Blair Tickner for the third time in the first-class series.
Five overs later the rain came back with no further play before tea, India A 94 for one with Easwaran having taken three boundaries to reach 42* in the second-wicket stand of 20* and Ravikumar Samarth (5*).
Play has resumed after the break, India A reaching 100 for one in the 28th over and still trailing by 203 on the first innings in a weather-wrecked encounter.
Glenn Phillips had taken a good catch at slip to dismiss Agarwal and was in the action again when Seth Rance picked up Easwaran, caught square just three runs shy of a half century in the 34th.
Samarth reached his half century off 80 balls (seven fours, one six) shortly before drinks in the final session. With time dwindling away, India A was 159 for two and the captains shook hands.
The third and final four-day match in the first-class leg of the tour begins at Whangarei's Cobham Oval this Friday, 30 November with teams locked at 0-0.
Heavy downpours again washed out the morning session but as the cloud cover eventually lightened, play was finally resumed mid-afternoon, for 17 further overs.
After a long wait, centurion Will Young advanced his day-one overnight score by just a further six runs before Mohammed Siraj (4-59) finally got one through his defences to end the opener's marathon stint on 123.
Young's relatively inexperienced partner Theo van Woerkom carried on to a career-best effort of 54, his maiden half century at first-class level after three-and-a-half hours' toil.
Van Woerkom had gone on to rattle up a relatively quick 45-stand with Lockie Ferguson who was unbeaten on 23* alongside Seth Rance, who slapped a hasty 22* before Bracewell called them in at 303 for seven, with Rajneesh Gurbani the next most successful of the India A attack with his 2-60 in support of Siraj.
Rance then had a quick crack at the India A top order before the wet weather returned just one over into the reply. The visitors will resume the final day in the weather-affected match at seven for no loss.
Wet weather saw no play before lunch, and further ground delays through the early afternoon with ultimately no play possible on the day. New Zealand A will resume day three at 221 for five in the first innings (Will Young 117*).
Gritty application from Will Young spared New Zealand A’s blushes on day one against India A in Hamilton.
Young’s sixth first-class century, and first red-ball hundred for the team, was the highlight for the hosts as they fought for traction on a challenging first day.
A day after Young’s 26th birthday, it was also another feather in the cap for the man who had voluntarily surrendered the Central Stags’ captaincy at the end of 2017/18 in order to focus on attaining higher honours as a batsman.
Long rated as one of New Zealand’s most technically gifted emerging batsmen, former New Zealand Under-19 captain Young had been appointed to lead the Stags at just 23, and helmed the team through an unbeaten season last summer to lift the Plunket Shield, yet voluntarily gave up the reins in order to give his all to making the BLACKCAPS.
Today those hopes gained another boost as the usual number four again stepped up to open in the New Zealand A top order against a disciplined India A attack on a difficult surface.
With hail and unsettled spring weather in the build-up, Seddon Park’s deck had been under wraps, and presented a much different, green-tinged complexion to the sun-baked surface of Bay Oval that had seen a drawn runfest in the tour opener. But now the sun was shining as India A captain Karun Nair sent in the hosts in Hamilton as the second first-class match got underway, at one of New Zealand’s premier Test venues.
The day got off to a testing start for New Zealand A. Young’s opening partner Hamish Rutherford was forced to retire (not out) after being struck on the helmet by Mohammed Siraj in the 14th just over, after the pair had weathered the first hour. Rutherford will see a doctor in the morning before any decision is made on whether he will bat again in the match.
Young, 13* at the time, had to begin again with Hamilton local Tim Seifert, and the new pairing continued a watchful, tempered start against Navdeep Saini and first change Siraj.
Seifert would become the first to fall at 58 for one and, while Rachin Ravindra and Doug Bracewell would each also stick around for Young for an hour or more of hard yakka, Young undertook the bulk of New Zealand A’s run-scoring on his own, until the final session.
After tea, as the attack began to wear down, he greeted Shankar’s return to the crease by pulling and driving him for a pair of boundaries off consecutive deliveries, posting New Zealand A’s 150 off 433 balls — of which Young had faced roughly half.
The runs were beginning to flow now, and two more boundaries in the following two overs propelled him into the nineties.
Theo van Woerkom was in support and the pair was making good headway since the fall of Bracewell earlier in the last session.
Young entered his 78th over of the day on 98* after another boundary from van Woerkom had advanced their partnership to 37 off 15 overs.
Right-armer Saini had the ball, coming back into the attack to try to rattle Young’s nerve as he looked for three figures. Earlier in the day he’d got one to steeple on Seifert who skied a catch to Vijay Shankar. But Saini couldn’t entice the same result from Young, who calmly plucked a single off the penultimate ball of the over to keep himself on strike: 99*.
Young had scored a breakthrough white-ball century for New Zealand A in UAE against Pakistan A just a couple of weeks earlier, and had to wait only a couple more deliveries before posting his sixth first-class century, bringing it up with another single off left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem.
Reward for a day-long personal marathon, off 238 balls, including 11 boundaries and a no-ball hooked away for six, and his first red-ball century for New Zealand A with his previous five efforts all for Central Stags.
He’d taken New Zealand A 179 for five against the experienced India A unit, and a lofted straight six from van Woerkom soon had them on the cusp of a 50-stand.
Van Woerkom dug out a Saini yorker that streaked away to rope to post it off 117 balls, then Young pumped Nadeem back over his head next ball for six.
The late flurry of runs got New Zealand A up to 221 for five by stumps, Young having batted all day to be pleasantly weary: unbeaten on 117 (265 balls, 12 boundaries and two sixes) with Canterbury’s van Woerkom, in just his ninth first-class appearance, having continued his positive support and heading in with an unbeaten 32 off 92 balls (five boundaries, one six).
The pair will resume their unbroken 80-run stand tomorrow.