Left-arm orthodox spinner Saurabh Kumar ran through the Bangladesh ‘A’ batting line-up as India ‘A’ clinched the two ‘Test’ series with an 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. 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.
Having conceded a 310-run first-innings lead, Bangladesh ‘A’ didn’t put up much of a fight in the second dig: it was shot out for a paltry 187 in 79.5 overs.
Bangladesh ‘A’ 252 and 187 in 79.5 overs (Shadman Islam 93 n.o., Saurabh Kumar 6 for 74, Umesh Yadav 2 for 34, Navdeep Saini 2 for 54) lost to India ‘A’ 562 for 9 declared by an innings and 123 runs.
Bangladesh ‘A’ was expecting to bat it out for three sessions and eke out a draw. However, former captain Mominul Haque (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 n.o.) did fight it out and also had a 54-run fourth wicket stand with Shahadat Hossain (29) but Saurabh broke that stand, Yash Dhull taking a catch.
Navdeep Saini (2 for 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.
Saurabh then quickly polished off the tail to set up a nice win as Umesh Yadav (2/34 in 15.5) completed the proceedings.
With Mohammed Shami not playing due to a shoulder injury, 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.
Having bowled close to 32 overs (31.5 overs), Umesh Yadav has bowled enough in match situation to lead the attack of the senior team in the absence of Shami and Jasprit Bumrah. His team-mate Cheteshwar Pujara also got a patient fifty and got decent game time.