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Rahul and Panchal Put India A in Control Against England Lions

KL Rahul was sent back to India A duty with only one goal — get back his lost touch. After a couple of poor outing in the ‘one-day’ games, the India opener finally found a semblance of touch by grinding out a gritty unbeaten 88 off 182 balls.

Cricketnext Staff |February 8, 2019, 6:01 PM IST
Rahul and Panchal Put India A in Control Against England Lions

KL Rahul was sent back to India A duty with only one goal — get back his lost touch. After a couple of poor outings in the ‘one-day’ games, the India opener finally found a semblance of touch by grinding out a gritty unbeaten 88 off 182 balls.

On a tough track at the Krishnagiri stadium in Wayanad, the venue of two-day Ranji Trophy semifinal between Kerala and Vidarbha, Rahul battled hard in the company of Bengal opener Abhimanyu Easwaran (31) first and then Gujrat batsman Priyank Panchal (89 n.o.) to carry India A to 219 for 1 at the end of second day’s play in reply to England Lions’ 340.

It was a battle for Rahul, who was suspended for five games by the BCCI for his inappropriate comments on TV show ‘Koffee with Karan’, as he reigned his natural aggressive instincts in to keep the English bowlers at bay.

The Karnataka opener, who had the highest of 44 runs on the Australian Test tour, battled in the first half off the innings but started to open up towards the end of the day in a knock studded with 11 boundaries. Rahul and Panchal put on 171 unbeaten runs for the second wicket to deny Lions any joy.

Panchal, who was the leading run-scorer for Gujarat in Ranji Trophy with 898 runs in 9 games with four centuries, was the fluent of the two batsmen. India A No. 3 batsman reached his fifty off 93 balls as he quickly raced past Rahul’s score. He ended the day on 89 off 141 balls with 16 boundaries.

Easwaran was the only Indian batsman to be dismissed for 31 off 79 balls with Leicestershire paceman Zak Chappell providing the breakthrough.

Earlier, the Lions began the second day on 303/5 but lost their last five wickets for the addition of just 37 runs. Delhi paceman Navdeep Saini was the pick of the India A bowlers, claiming 5/79 while Mumbai seamer Shardul Thakur picked up 2/77.

Surrey all-rounder Will Jacks fought in vain with the lower-order, scoring 63 off 114 balls with 10 boundaries. However, the last four English batsmen all fell for single-digit scores.

Overnight batsman Steven Mullaney (42) of Nottinghamshire was the first to depart, clean bowled by Saini. The Delhi paceman then added the wickets of Danny Briggs (1) and Zak Chappell (6) to hasten the end of visitors’ innings.

India A now look set to post a big lead but Rahul’s first priority will be to convert this start into his first big hundred of the season.

Brief Scores: England Lions 1st inngs 340 (Ben Duckett 80, Will Jacks 63, Sam Hain 61; Navdeep Saini 5/79, Shardul Thakur 2/77) vs India ‘A’ 219/1 in 67 ovs (Priyank Panchal batting 89, KL Rahul batting 88)

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