Mumbai, Oct 30 (IANS) After a sloppy start, Board President XI batsmen made a strong comeback to post a commendable 296 in their first innings against the South Africans on the opening day of their two-day practice match at the Brabourne Stadium here on Friday.
Opener Lokesh Rahul (72), Naman Ojha (52), Hardik Pandya (47) and Karun Nair (44) did the bulk of the scoring for the home side before being bowled out in 78.5 overs.
For the visitors, Dale Steyn (3/46), Simon Harmer (3/41) and Vernon Philander (2/37) impressed, while Imran Tahir and Dane Piedt picked up one wicket each.
In reply, Dean Elgar remained unbeaten on 18 as the visitors reached 46/2 in 8.2 overs at stumps on the first day.
Earlier in the day, opting to bat first, opener Unmukt Chand (4) started the proceedings with a boundary off the third ball of the first over. But a superb delivery from Steyn just two balls later totally fooled the batsman to put the hosts at 4/1 inside the very first over.
The batting side suffered their second blow when skipper Cheteshwar Pujara (5) was caught by Stiaan van Zyl at gully while trying to guide the ball to third man.
The South African pace attack, comprising Steyn, Philander, Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada, continued to put a lot of pressure on the Board President’s young line-up.
After Pujara, incoming batsman Shreyas Iyer (9) too fell after edging the ball to wicketkeeper Dane Vilas off the bowling of Steyn. The Board President XI were struggling at 27/3 after 8.3 overs.
After three quick wickets, incoming batsman Nair and Rahul held on firmly at the crease.
Rahul and Nair batted cautiously to notch up a 105-run partnership for the fourth wicket in just 150 balls to take the team’s score close to the 150-run mark.
Nair, who had struck nine boundaries, was caught behind as Vernon Philander found his outside edge in the 34th over. He returned to the pavilion six runs short of a well deserved half-century.
The dismissal at the other end did not bother opener Rahul as he went on scoring freely against both pacers and spinners. With 13 boundaries to his credit, the talented young batsman brought up his half-century in 92 balls.
Naman Ojha too gave him good support by sneaking regular singles along with the occasional boundaries.
But a bowling change by Proteas skipper Hashim Amla worked wonders, as off-spinner Simon Harmer got the much needed breakthrough by dismissing Rahul. The hosts’ score was 155/5 at that point.
Incoming batsman Sheldon Jackson looked in good nick as he played some attacking shots while partnering Ojha to take the team’s score past the 200-run mark.
The duo brought up their 50-run partnership in 80 balls.
Post the tea break, Steyn started his proceedings with a wicket in his fourth ball by dismissing Jackson (15) to have the Board President’s XI at 208/6.
But Ojha and Pandya didn’t look to be under pressure, piling up some valuable runs to take the team past the 220-run mark.
But after the dismissal of the duo, lower order batsman Jayant Yadav (22) made some useful runs at the end to take the team close to the 300-run mark.
Brief scores: Board President’s XI 296 (Lokesh Rahul 72, Naman Ojha 52; Dale Steyn 3/46, Simon Harmer 3/41, Vernon Philander 2/37) vs South Africans 46/2 (Stiaan van Zyl 18 batting, Dean Elgar 18 batting; Shardul Thakur 2/28)