De Villiers hits ton as practice game ends in draw

Mumbai, Oct 31 (IANS) Displaying his sheer class yet again with a superb ton, AB de Villiers overshadowed the good performance put in by the home bowlers at the start of the second and final day to help South Africa settle for a draw against Board President XI in the two-day practice match at the Brabourne Stadium here on Saturday.

Coming into bat at a time when his side was struggling after the loss of quick wickets, the swashbuckling right-handed batsman struck 112 off 131 balls, with 18 boundaries to take his team to a respectable score that ensured them a draw.

After restricting Board President XI to 296 in the first innings on the opening day, South Africa came back strongly after a sloppy start to score 302 in 69.2 overs in their first innings.

For the home side, Shardul Thakur (4-70), Kuldeep Yadav (2-24), Jayant Yadav (2-37) impressed, while Hardik Pandya and Nathu Singh picked one wicket each.

Coming into bat in the second innings, skipper Cheteshwar Pujara (49 not out) and Lokesh Rahul (43 not out) remained unbeaten as BPXI reached 92/0 in 30 overs when the second and final day’s play ended.

Earlier on, resuming the day’s play from 46/2, the visitors struggled to face the new ball bowlers as a couple of early wickets put the Proteas on the back foot.

The South Africans received the first blow when Mumbai pacer Thakur dismissed in-form batsman Faf du Plessis (4) in the very first over of the day.

The 24-year-old bowler got his fourth wicket of the match as he dismissed star batsman Hashim Amla (1) — a thick edge off the bat found Karan Nair in first slip comfortably. The score read 57/4 in 14.5 overs then.

The 20-year-old Nathu, who has created a lot of hype due to his raw pace, brought more trouble for the visitors in the 16th over, as he got rid of set and overnight batsman Dean Elgar (23) to have the Proteas struggling at 57/5.

Two new batsmen at the crease, de Villiers and Temba Bavuma (15), played sensibly to bring up the 50-run partnership in 67 balls for the sixth wicket.

A bowling change by skipper Pujara worked well as the 54-run stand for the sixth wicket came to an end with the wicket of Bavuma.

Dane Vilas (54) came in then to give good support to De Villiers to score at a brisk pace to notch up their 100-run partnership for the seventh wicket in just 121 balls.

But with the wicket of Vilas, South Africa were reduced to 226/7.

But later in their innings, a handy 37 runs by Steyn, powered by six boundaries and a six helped team get past the 300-run mark.

Brief scores: Board President’s XI 296 & 92/0 in 30 overs (Cheteshwar Pujara 49 not out and Lokesh Rahul 43 not out) vs South Africans 302 in 69.2 overs (AB de Villiers 112, Dane Vilas 54; Shardul Thakur 4/78, Kuldeep Yadav 2/24, Jayant Yadav 2/37)

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