Bengaluru, August 11: South Africa A stared at a long day when the play began on Saturday (August 11), second day of their four-day fixture against India A here. But the Proteas showed immense character to stage a strong comeback - first with ball and then with bat.
India A resumed their innings from their overnight 322 for four and were in a position to drive towards a massive first innings total and put the opposition under pressure. But they could not get a move on ending up with 345 all out and by the time rain and bad light stopped the play South Africa managed to reach 219 for three, in arrears of 126 runs.
South Africa A began their come back through pacer Duanne Olivier (6-63). The tall pacer, who has played five Tests for South Africa, worked up good pace under overcast conditions, eliciting a loose shots, edges and those constant 'oohs' and 'aahs' from the thickly populated slip cordon.
Olivier fired up the procession uprooting the middle stump of Kona Bharat and Gade Hanuma Vihari (148, 295b, 14x4) soon fell to the impressive Anrich Nortje. The rest of the line-up did not have the nous to keep the relentless South Africans away, falling quickly. In all, India lost six wickets for eight runs in the space of nearly five overs. Stunning collapse by any stretch of imagination.
Despite that free fall, 345 was a competitive total considering the murky conditions and the presence of bowlers of the calibre of Mohammed Siraj, Nitin Saini and Yuzvendra Chahal. When Siraj trapped Pieter Malan in front of the wicket with the first ball of South Africa A's innings, India A might have hoped to make much deeper inroads into their innings. But that was not to be.
Zubayr Hamza, one of the highly rated young names in South African domestic cricket, and Sarel Erwee kept the Indian attack at bay through a brilliant partnership of 154 in 36.4 overs. Never for once they got bogged down and the Indian bowlers seemed to have taken aback by the stubbornness of the Proteas duo.
Gradually, impatience began to creep into the Indian bowlers affecting their length. Several times the India A bowlers failed to land the ball full and both Hamza and Erwee were happy to essay drives on either side of the ground to collect some easy runs.
Chahal broke the swelling alliance when the leg-spinner induced an edge from Hamza (93, 125b, 15x4) and nine runs later Chahal trapped Erwee (58, 118b, 7x4, 2x6) leg before as South Africa slipped to 163 for three. But Hendrik van der Dussen and Rudi Second ensured that South Africa ended the day with the strong possibility of moving ahead of India on the third day.
Brief scores: India A: 345 all out in 101 overs (G Hanuma Vihari 148, Ankit Bawne 80; Duanne Olivier 6-63) vs South Africa A: 219 for three in 59.5 overs (Zubayr Hamza 93, Sarel Erwee 58; Yuzvendra Chahal 2-62).