Ahmedabad, Jan 20: Wicketkeeper-batter KS Bharat scored a magnificent unbeaten 116, while B Sai Sudharsan, Sarfaraz Khan, and Manav Suthar hit gritty fifties as India ‘A’ managed to earn a hard-fought draw against England Lions in the first four-day match at the Narendra Modi Stadium ‘A’ ground on Saturday.
It was a match where India ‘A’ were behind in the game for a majority of it, but managed to end the game in a draw and avoid defeat to England Lions. Chasing a massive 490 on the last day of the match, Sudarshan made 97 off 208 balls, including 13 boundaries, while Sarfaraz slammed 55 off 67 balls, including ten boundaries.
The duo were also in an 87-run stand for the third wicket, but they fell quickly to spinner Callum Parkinson and India ‘A’ were in trouble at 223/5, after being at 159/4 at stumps on day three’s play. But Bharat hit a sensational century, with his unbeaten 116 coming in 156 balls, including hitting 15 boundaries.
He also shared a stand of 207 off 331 balls with Suthar, who made 89 not out off 204 balls, including hitting 16 boundaries. Bharat’s knock is a timely one, considering he, Dhruv Jurel and KL Rahul are in a three-way battle for the wicketkeeper-batter’s slot in India’s playing eleven for the first Test against England at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad, starting on January 25.
Bharat made his Test debut in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series last year, but made only 129 runs at 18.42 across five Tests, with a highest score of 44. With Rahul looking more likely to play as a specialist batter, Bharat’s unbeaten century in a dire situation places him ahead of young Jurel.
The second four-day match between India ‘A’ and England Lions will begin from January 24 at the Narendra Modi Stadium Ground 'A'.