PRETORIA: India A were set a stiff target of scoring 307 runs to win the second and final unofficial Test after South Africa A declared their second innings at 166 for five on the third and penultimate day on Monday.
At stumps, India A were three for one from the four overs they faced in their second innings, needing 304 more runs to win the ‘Test’ with nine wickets in hand.
Captain Cheteshwar Pujara was batting on two while nightwatchman Shahbaz Nadeem was yet to open his account.
Opener Murali Vijay failed for the second time in the match as he was out for a duck off the bowling of Beuran Hendricks in the second over. He had scored just four in the first innings.
It will not be an easy task for the Indians, who have rested the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma, to score the remaining runs on Tuesday.
India A, who had won the first Test of the two-match series by an innings, struggled to get the wickets of South Africa A batsmen who batted without taking much risk in the 63 overs they faced in their second innings at the LC de Villiers Oval.
Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem took three wickets for 56 runs while off-spinner Parvez Rasool and pacer Ishwar Pandey got a wicket apiece.
Opener Dean Elgar was South Africa A’s top-scorer with a 156-ball 62 while skipper Justin Ontong contributed 35.
The South Africans played sedately in their second innings. While the openers Reeza Hendricks (22) and Elgar added 53 for the opening wicket, Nadeem accounted for the former as he offered a catch to Dinesh Karthik. Left-hander Rilee Russouw (0) defended three balls before Nadeem breached through his defence.
Earlier in the day, India A were all out for 201 to concede a sizeable 140-run first innings lead to the South Africans.
Starting the day at 145 for six, India lost their last four wickets for 24 runs to get all out for 201 in 70.1 overs. Left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks was the wrecker-in-chief as he took five for 36 in 21 overs.
Parvez Rasool (32 no, 68 balls, 5×4) hit some lusty blows but ran out of partners after Ambati Rayudu (29, 93 balls, 3×4) was dismissed by offie Simon Harmer (4/74).
Tail-enders Nadeem (6), Ishwar Pandey (0) and Siddharth Kaul didn’t have the capability to fight it out with Rasool as India lost their final three wickets for an addition of only nine runs.