Philander, Maharaj shine even as Rohit experiment begins with two-ball duck

South Africa

Stumps Board President’s XI 265 for 8 (Bharat 71, Panchal 60, Lad 52*, Agarwal 39, Maharaj 3-35, Philander 2-27) drew with South Africans 279 for 6 dec (Markram 100, Bavuma 87*, Philander 48, Jadeja 3-66)

Keshav Maharaj and Vernon Philander provided early warning signs for the Indian Test batsmen after Temba Bavuma and Philander added good runs on the third and final morning of the South Africans’ tour game against an Indian Board President’s XI in Vizianagaram, which petered out into a draw on Saturday.

A major point of interest from the Indian perspective was to see how Rohit Sharma fared as an opening batsman. Unfortunately for Rohit, his stay in the middle lasted just two balls as Philander had him out caught for a duck.

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It was 23 for 2 rather quickly as Kagiso Rabada sent back Abhimanyu Easwaran, the No. 3 batsman, for 13, But Mayank Agarwal and Priyank Panchal steadied the ship with a 62-run stand for the third wicket. Agarwal, expected to open in the Tests, scored 39 before becoming Maharaj’s first victim, and after Panchal had fallen to Philander for 60, Maharaj got his second, the in-form Karun Nair gone for 19.

At that stage, with the scoreboard reading 136 for 5, the Indians looked in danger of folding for a below-par total, but Siddhesh Lad and KS Bharat repaired the damage with a 100-run stand in just 20 overs.

Even as Lad bedded in, though not while missing out on scoring opportunities, Bharat took the aggressive route to hit seven fours and five sixes in a 57-ball 71 before Maharaj sent him back.

Jalaj Saxena and Dharmendrasinh Jadeja were also dismissed towards the fag end of the day, falling to the spin of Senuran Muthusamy and Dane Piedt respectively. The Indians were still 14 runs behind with two wickets left – Lad was still there on 52 not out – when the two teams decided to call off the contest.

The third day began with the visitors on 199 for 5 in their first innings – the first day was entirely lost to the weather and only 50 overs of play was possible on the second, within which Aiden Markram scored a century – with Bavuma on 55.

Bavuma, expected to be the pivot around which the South African stroke-players revolve in the Tests, picked up his scoring rate somewhat, getting to 87 in 127 balls as he and Philander added 80 runs in 14 overs. Philander was even more enterprising, hitting six fours and a six in his 49-ball 48 before becoming left-arm spinner Jadeja’s third scalp.

The first Test begins in Visakhapatnam on October 2.

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