Batting collapse opens door for India A

TAUNTON, England,  CMC – Test star Jermaine Blackwood and attacking opener John Campbell struck half-centuries but West Indies A suffered a batting collapse to let India A back into the second four-day “Test” here Thursday.

Resuming the penultimate day at the Somerset County Ground on 96 for one in their second innings, Windies A were eventually dismissed for 210, with Blackwood top-scoring with 67 and Campbell getting 61.

However, the last nine wickets tumbled for 85 runs, as new-ball seamers Mohammed Siraj (4-64) and Rajneesh Gurbani (3-64) ran through the innings.

Left with a target of 321, India produced another sterling second innings effort to end on 214 for three, with Hanuma Vihari top-scoring with an unbeaten 65, captain Karun Nair stroking 55 and Abhimanyu Easwaran chiming in with 31.

The right-handed Easwaran ensured a solid start to the innings when he put on 51 for the first wicket with Ravikumar Samarth (18).

Left-arm seamer Raymon Reifer removed Samarth to a catch at the wicket while fast bowler Romario Shepherd also claimed Easwaran to a catch also behind, to put West Indies A in control at 78 for two.

However, Vihari and Nair then combined in a solid 136-run, third wicket stand that put the Indians back in control of the run chase

The right-handed Vihari struck five fours in an innings lasting 123 balls in just over 2-1/2 hours while Nair slammed eight fours in a counter-attacking 63-ball knock before perishing to the final delivery of the day.

Blackwood and Campbell had earlier extended their second wicket stand to 74 before being separated.

Resuming on 23, Blackwood belted eight four and a six off 84 balls in 142 minutes while Campbell, on 43 at the start, counted seven fours and a six in an innings spanning 102 balls and in just about 2-3/4 hours at the crease

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