A fit-again Rohit Sharma and Manish Pandey slammed strokeful centuries as India A feasted on Sri Lanka’s mediocre attack before registering a comfortable 88-run victory in a warm-up match for the visitors ahead of their ODI series against India, here on Thursday.
Playing his first match after recovering from a fractured finger and shoulder injury, Sharma cracked a brilliant 111-ball 142 before getting run out. Pandey stroked his way to an unbeaten 135 off 113 balls at the Brabourne Stadium.
Invited to bat, India A scored runs at a brisk pace, with the openers – Sharma and Unmukt Chand – carting the bowlers all over the park and helping the team post 72 runs in the first 10 overs. The home team notched up a mammoth 382 for six and in reply, the Sri Lankans were restricted to 294 for nine.
Sharma dominated proceedings initially before Chand, too, upped the ante. The former U-19 World Cup-winning captain continued with his rich vein of form having previously scored an unbeaten 79 and 101 against the West Indies earlier this month.
The Delhi batsman struck eight fours and a six in his 39-ball 52 before being caught behind by Kumara Sangakkara off Lahiru Gamage. Sharma, who was on 36 when Chand departed, forged a 214- run partnership with Pandey. The duo remained aggressive as they sent the bowlers on a leather hunt.
Sharma, playing after a two-month injury layoff, showed no signs of discomfort and took to the attack from the start. The 27- year old’s scintillating knock was laced with 18 fours and a six, and included some beautiful cover drives.
The Mumbai batsman fell short of his crease while trying to steal a second run when a direct hit from Lahiru Gamage found the target in the 41st over. The 25-year old Karnataka batsman, Pandey, however remained undeterred. His brilliant knock included 15 fours and a six, while skipper Manoj Tiwary chipped in with a cameo, scoring 36 with the help of two sixes and as many fours.
After putting up a solid display, India A lost three quick wickets in the penultimate over, but it did not cause much worry to them as by then the batsmen had already dented the Lankan bowling attack.
The island nation opted to give a chance to all their 15 members and utilised the services of as many as 10 players in the bowling department.
The visitors replaced Sangakkara after 26 overs and Kusal Perera took his place behind the stumps. It was a bad day for the Lankan bowling outfit and Dhammika Prasad was the pick of the bowlers with figures of three for 57, while Gamage bagged had two for 41. Chasing a mammoth total, Sri Lanka suffered a jolt when they lost opener Kusal Perera (4) in the first over. The left-handed batsman was caught behind off Dhawal Kulkarni on the last ball of the over.
India A struck again when leg spinner Karn Sharma trapped Dilshan leg before off the first ball of his spell. The 38-year old made just 14 off 24 balls, leaving the visitors struggling at 42 for two in 8.1 overs. Wicketkeeper batsman Sangakkara and Tharanga tried to rebuild the innings and forged a 69-run stand for the third wicket.
Sangakkara, one of the most experienced players in the Sri Lankan side, made almost a run-a-ball 34 before being caught in the first slip off Parvez Rasool. His departure left Sri Lanka struggling at 111 for three.
Tharanga, who had partners changing at the other end quite frequently, was the only one who took to the Indian attack. He carted the bowlers for 13 fours before perishing at mid wicket off Karn Sharma.
They kept losing wickets at regular interval and lost more than half the side within 32 overs. Mahela Jayawardene made a 31-ball 33 comprising of three fours before being castled by Karn, which left the island nation at for 173 for six.
Niroshan Dickwella and Ashan Priyanjan added 51 runs for the seventh wicket before Dickwella was bowled by Kulkarni. Seekuge Prasanna and Chatrunga De Silva played a few shots in the end to guide the team to a respectable total.
The 27-year old Railways bowler scalped four wickets for 47 runs, while Jammu and Kashmir spinner Rasool and Dhawal Kulkarni picked up two wickets each.
Brief Score: India A for in 50 overs (Rohit Sharma 142, Manish Pandey 135 not out; Dhammika Prasad 3 for 57, Lahiru Gamage 2 for 41) Sri Lanka (Upul Tharanga 76; Karn Sharma 4 for 47).