Saurabh grabs six as India 'A' crush Bangladesh 'A' by an innings and 123 runs
Left-arm orthodox spinner Saurabh Kumar ran through Bangladesh 'A' batting line-up as India 'A' clinched the two 'Test' series with a commanding innings and 123-run victory in the second and final game here on Friday.
With his performance, Saurabh has staked a strong claim to replace an injured Ravindra Jadeja in the Indian Test squad for the upcoming series against Bangladesh, starting December 14.
Having conceded a mammoth 310-run first innings lead, Bangladesh 'A' performed even worse in their second innings, being shot out for a paltry 187 in 79.5 overs.
In the first innings, Bangladesh were a shade better, scoring 252 and India replied with a massive 562, riding on skipper Abhimanyu Easwaran's superb 157.
Saurabh, who also had a five-wicket haul in the second innings of the drawn first 'Test', took 6 for 74 in 30 overs to become one of the architects of the series win.
The Uttar Pradesh spinner also finished with a haul of 15 scalps in two games to emerge as the top wicket-taker in the series.
Bangladesh 'A', with seasoned former skipper Mominul Haque in their ranks, were expecting to bat it out for three sessions and eke out a draw.
However, Mominul (6) was smartly snapped up behind stumps by keeper Kona Bharat in the fifth over of the morning and there was no looking back for India 'A'.
Opener Shadman Islam (93 not out) did fight it out and also had a 54-run fourth wicket stand with Shahadat Hossain (29) but Saurabh broke that stand with Yash Dhull taking a catch.
Navdeep Saini (2/54 in 16 overs), who was given an extended spell because of his possible call-up to the senior squad, then got two wickets in three deliveries to send half of the home side packing. He first trapped Jaker Ali leg-before and then had Yashasvi Jaiswal pouch Mohammed Mithun in the slips to reduce Bangladesh 'A' to 145 for 6.
With no Mohmmed Shami (shoulder injury) in its ranks, the senior team management is likely to prefer Saini in the upcoming Test series against Bangladesh ahead of an in-form Bengal speedster Mukesh Kumar, because of former's ability to get reverse swing at a brisk pace. Saurabh then quickly polished off the tail to set up a nice win as Umesh Yadav (2/34 in 15.5) completed the proceedings.
Having bowled close to 32 overs (31.5 overs), Umesh has done enough bowling in match situation to lead the attack of the senior team in the absence of Shami and Jasprit Bumrah. His teammate Cheteshwar Pujara also got a patient fifty and got decent game time.
Brief Scores: Bangladesh A: 252 and 187 in 79.5 overs (Shadman Islam 93 not out, Saurabh Kumar 6/74, Umesh Yadav 2/34, Navdeep Saini 2/54).
India A: 562/9 declared. India won by an innings and 123 runs.
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