Lincoln, (New Zealand): India 'A' consolidated their position in the second unofficial Test, amassing over 550 runs and then reducing New Zealand 'A' to 198 for 5 on the second day of the match here on Thursday.
After Mandeep Singh and Ashok Menaria's big centuries propelled India 'A' to a mammoth 554 for 8 declared in 118 overs, R Vinay Kumar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar took two wickets apiece to leave the hosts trailing by another 356 runs at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval.
Resuming on the team score of 433 for 4, Mandeep missed out on what would have been a well-deserved double ton by just seven runs while Menaria, though he could add only nine to his overnight score, fell for a blazing 190-ball 173. Barring Hamish Rutherford, who was unfortunately run out for 99, none of the hosts batsmen could challenge the Indian bowlers.
With the bowlers complementing the batsmen's dominating display, India 'A' can easily afford to force a result in their favour in the next two days. They were deprived of a positive outcome in the first match courtesy bad weather, which meant early stumps on almost all days.
Mandeep and Menaria came out all guns blazing, adding 318 runs for the fifth wicket in 62.2 overs. A highly impressive run-rate of 5.10 clearly indicates their dominance over the Kiwi bowlers. While Mandeep hit 24 fours and a six during his 281-ball knock that lasted for 423 minutes, Menaria, the more aggressive of the two, found the fence 21 times while clearing it twice, during his 270-minute stay at the crease.
New Zealand bowlers' agony did not end with the duo's dismissals as Vinay Kumar blazed his way to a 41-ball 50 with the help of five fours and three sixes. The hosts, who lost George Worker without a run on the board, relied solely on Rutherford, who struck 15 fours and a six during 121-ball innings. When bad light brought an early end to the day's proceedings, Dean Brownlie was batting on 19.