A brilliant century by Hanuma Vihari ensured India A ended in a powerful position at 322-4 after the first day of the second unofficial Test against South Africa A.
It had started so promisingly for the visitors, who need to win this one at Bengaluru to square the series. They sent India A in to bat and within seven overs, they had sent back the openers – Manyank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw – who had scored 220 and 136 respectively on the way to an innings victory in the first match. This time round, Agarwal was caught in the slips off Duanne Olivier off the second ball of the day and Shaw followed soon after, caught behind off Anrich Nortje.
Captain Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari, though, put the brakes on the slide in a stand worth 62, when the captain fell on an aggressive 39 off 54 balls to the spin of Senuran Muthusamy.
Vihari played an immaculate innings, solidly and resolutely dragging the initiative away from South Africa. He and Ankit Bawne added 177 in 50 overs when spin again made the breakthrough, Dane Piedt having Bawne stumped by Rudi Second on 80 (off 146 balls).
The 24-year-old Vihari, who had a fifty in the first ‘Test’, remained unruffled, smoothly working his way to 138 off 273 balls, including 13 fours, when stumps were drawn. Even without reckless batting, India still managed a run rate of almost 3.6 an over, and unless the South African bowlers can make a meaningful breakthrough early on, they will be chasing the game.
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