It was a reverse-sweep that was uncalled for. Not just because Abhishek Nayar was just 11 short of a well-deserved century. Or that he had gotten most of his runs with orthodox shots, or let’s call them those typical to his unique repertoire. Most importantly, the Mumbai left-hander had made run-making look rather easy on a pitch that every other India ‘A’ batsman had struggled on.
Nayar had started from where he had left off on Thursday by attacking the two left-arm West Indian spinners — Veerasammy Permaul and Nikita Miller — with a variety of sweeps and launching explosive cover-drives against pacer Miguel Cummings.
The West Indies ‘A’ bowlers were struggling to conceive a strategy to stop Nayar. But one false shot had led to a rather tame dismissal, as he missed the ball, and was trapped lbw by a full and fast delivery from left-arm spinner Miller.
Nayar wasn’t the only one kicking himself though. The 11,000-odd spectators were filled with discontent at the Jawaharlal Nehru National College of Engineering (JNNCE) ground on Friday.
For, with Nayar’s departure went any chance of entertainment on the tacky JNNCE wicket. It had after all taken his ingenious technique to overcome the challenge of scoring runs on it.
With his departure though, it seemed inevitable that the tempo would slow down. Eventually it turned into a painful drag, which ended with West Indies ‘A’ crawling to 28 for 0 after India A were bowled out for 359 earlier.
The slowness of the wicket sucked any chance of the four-day contest turning interesting, especially after India ‘A’ had cruised past their follow-on target.
The third day’s play had begun with VA Jagadeesh failing to reach his ton for the second consecutive outing in India ‘A’ colours, being bowled by the impressive Miguel Cummings.
Wicketkeeper Uday Kaul then walked in and decided to drop anchor, intent on not letting this long-awaited chance to impress the selectors go to waste. Probably he was too determined. Generally a free-flowing batsman, the Punjab left-hander batted himself into a cocoon, while the West Indians, Cummings in particular