Deepak Hooda scored 52 © IANS
Deepak Hooda scored 52 © IANS

Abhimanyu Easwaran, Deepak Hooda and Vijay Shankar played attractive cricket as India A put up 289 for 6 in the fourth unofficial ODI against New Zealand A. At Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam on Friday, India A won the toss and opted to bat. Though they kept on losing wickets at one end, Easwaran held the innings together to score a brilliant 83. Later, Hooda and Shankar’s half-centuries boosted India’s scorecard further and kept his side in hunt for a straight 2-0 victory in the five-match series. READ: Suresh Raina, Amit Mishra fail fitness test for IND A selection

Before Easwaran and his partner Prashant Chopra could put up a solid opening stand, Scott Kuggeleign provided New Zealand with the first breakthrough, removing the latter for 13. Easwaran then partnered with No. 3 Ankit Bawne and put up a partnership that added in excess of fifty runs. India crossed the 100-run mark before they lost Bawne for 39. They lost another crucial wicket soon as Rishabh Pant’s lean form continued. Kuggeleijn struck again to remove the Indian wicketkeeper-batsman for 2. However, a bigger blow for the hosts was to lose a set Easwaran or 83 as a result of a run out. Deepak Hooda then took charge and found support from Vijay Shankar at the other end. Hooda’s was a calm knock to protect wicket and score runs at the same time while Shankar decided to accelerate. Hooda departed for a 64-ball 59 while Shankar played a 33-ball 61-run knock, hitting 4 fours and 5 sixes in the process.

Kuggeleijn’s 2 for 37 were the best figures by New Zealand bowlers on the day. Seth Rance, Matt Henry and George Worker were the other successful bowlers for the side. The highest New Zealand have scored in this 50-overs series is 269 for 9 (second match), and will have to put up their best foot forward for the first victory.

Brief scores:

India A 289 for 6 (Abhimanyu Easwaran 83, Deepaak Hooda 59, Vijay Shankar 60*; Seth Rance 1 for 57, Matt Henry 1 for 56, Scott Kuggeleijn 2 for 37, George Worker 1 for 29) against New Zealand A.