NEW ZEALAND A v INDIA A
Third first-class fixture
30 November - 3 December 2018
Cobham Oval, Whangarei
Match result: Draw
Series result: 0-0
Rain prevented further play on the final day of the first-class series in Whangarei, New Zealand A and India A squaring a hard fought three matches.
Frequent squalls passing over the ground meant the players were unable to take the field and the match was abandoned shortly after 2pm, India A marooned on its overnight score of 38 for one in the second innings, still trailing NZ A by 37.
The teams now head back to Mount Maunganui's Bay Oval for a rapid-fire series of three one-day matches starting with a day/night match from 2pm this Friday 7 December.
Cam Fletcher’s second first-class century has left New Zealand A with the upper hand after the third day of the third and final first-class fixture against India A.
The NZ A wicketkeeper scored a career-high 103, sharing in partnerships of 92 with Doug Bracewell for the sixth wicket, and 100 with Kyle Jamieson for the seventh before NZ A was dismissed for 398 – a first innings lead of 75.
At stumps India A was 38 for one, having lost Abhimanyu Easwaran in the seventh over, caught at the wicket off the impressive Bracewell as the NZ A captain continued his strong all-round game.
Bracewell, who took five wickets in the first innings, was the dominant partner in the sixth-wicket stand with Fletcher, striking nine lusty boundaries while scoring 55 off 74 deliveries: his 17th first-class half-century.
When he departed, Fletcher found an able ally in Jamieson, who brought up his maiden first-class 50 before falling for 53 off 75 balls, including three fours and three sixes.
The 25-year-old Fletcher was composed throughout, raising his 50 off 123 balls and his century off 220 balls, while striking seven fours and a lofted drive for six offspinner Krish Gowtham.
Having resumed the morning at 121 for three, NZ A had lost Rachin Ravindra to a sharp catch at slip off Gowtham and Tim Seifert to a mistimed drive off Rajneesh Gurbani when his score was on 86.
NZ A then made runs while the sun shone, going to lunch at 247 for five and, after having lost Bracewell in the middle session, to tea at 335 for six.
The eventual lead might have been more but for a sterling performance from Gowtham who snared the final four wickets of the innings for figures of six for 139 off 46.4 overs – his sixth five-wicket bag in first-class cricket.
After a damp start to the day, Doug Bracewell collected his ninth first-class five-wicket bag as the rain-affected match burst into life on the second afternoon.
In reply to India’s first innings total of 323, New Zealand A was 121 for three at stumps on the second day with Tim Seifert and Rachin Ravindra unbeaten on 55* and five*, respectively.
Having lost the first session to rain, the game resumed at a relatively frenetic pace when the weather behaved, India scoring 75 runs in the space of 20 overs, but losing their last six wickets; three apiece to Lockie Ferguson and Bracewell.
Ferguson started the momentum, bowling around the wicket and dismissing Shubman Gill, Vijay Shankar and Krish Gowtham in consecutive overs before Bracewell accounted for Mohammad Siraj, Rajneesh Gurbani and Srikar Bharat – to end with figures of five for 78.
Bharat did not go quietly, however, slamming a shot-laden 47 runs off 47 balls, including seven fours to hooks and drives and a splendidly pulled six off a Ferguson bouncer.
NZ A’s first innings was not without its dramas. George Worker was caught at the wicket driving at Mohammad Siraj when the total was 18, and the in-form Will Young was bowled by off-spinner Gowtham immediately after the total reached 50.
Seifert and Phillips then added 59 for the third wicket before Phillips was trapped in front by a ball from Siraj that seamed back at him. However, Seifert steered NZ A to stumps without further mishap, raising his 10th first-class 50 off 120 balls and in 144 minutes, and striking eight boundaries in total – five of them from the off-spin of Gowtham.
Day one of the third first-class match between New Zealand A and India A and there is still little between the sides.
Following draws in Mt Maunganui and Hamilton, the closely fought series remains on the line after India A safely negotiated a rain-affected first day’s play in Whangarei, ending at 248 for four after firstly bad light and then rain brought about a premature close.
At the wicket was Shubman Gill and Vijay Shankar unbeaten on 47* and 60*, respectively; the pair combining in an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 98 after India A had started strongly with opener Ravikumar Samarth falling to Doug Bracewell just two runs shy of the hundred stand.
Gill and Shankar adopted contrasting styles, the former spending 147 minutes and 80 balls repairing the innings; the latter sprinting to his 50 off 44 balls and in 65 minutes while striking seven fours and a six.
India A lost four wickets in a stop-start middle session with captain Bracewell striking twice, Ankit Bawne instantly regretting believing in the leave as Bracewell knocked over his off stump.
Samarth had squeezed a fullish ball from Bracewell square of the wicket into the hands of Rachin Ravindra; Abhimanyu Easwaran fended a short-pitched Blair Tickner delivery behind the wicket and then Bawne shouldered arms.
When captain Karun Nair was bounced out by Lockie Ferguson, India A had been reduced to 182 for four and needed a consolidation. Gill and Shankar provided it, the pair supporting each other nicely until poor light stopped play after 69 overs.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, earlier India A had navigated the opening session without mishap; Samarth and and Easwaran carrying their side to lunch at 56 without loss.