Despite a valiant display of stonewalling by Rudi Second, South Africa A went down by an innings and 30 runs in the first of two unofficial Tests against India A in Bengaluru.
Having started the day four wickets down and needing 239 runs just to make India A bat again after their monstrous innings of 584-8 declared, it was always going to be a rearguard holding operation to save the game. Second led the way, facing 214 balls while accumulating 94 runs, with 15 fours.
Zubayr Hamza, who went in on 46 at stumps on Monday night, added just 17 in eight overs when he fell to the pace of Rajneesh Gurbani, getting in on the act after Mohammed Siraj had taken the four wickets on Monday evening. He had seen off 126 deliveries, cracking 11 fours.
Second, who had been on four overnight, picked up the baton and found an equally resolute partner in Shaun von Berg. Together they put on 119 through 50 overs, until Gurbani got his second, dismissing Von Berg on 50, which had consumed 175 and contained just six fours.
Second thus matched his first heroic stand, in the opening innings, when his more aggressive 94 off 139 balls hauled South Africa to the edge of respectability, ending on 246 as Mohammed Siraj ran riot, taking 5-56.
The South Africans nearly pulled it off, even after Second was trapped lbw by googly spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, with 14 overs remaining.
Malusi Siboto faced 50 balls for seven runs, Dane Piedt 37 for eight, Beuran Hendricks 29 for 10 and Duanne Olivier 14 for nought. But it was just too much, and the innings ended with Siraj taking his fifth wicket of the innings, and 10th of the match with an over to go.
Second has certainly done what he can to catch the attention of the selectors. He has racked up the runs in the past two Sunfoil series: 684 runs in 14 innings at 52.61 in 2016-17, followed by 803 in 14 innings at 80.30 in 2017-18, including a double-hundred. And his contribution in this game must be worth something, if ever Heinrich Klaasen or Quinton de Kock fall out of favour.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images