India ‘A’ failed to maintain the momentum garnered from emphatic wins in back-to-back warm-up games as a thoroughly professional England Lions cruised to a seven-wicket victory in the opening encounter of the tri-nation A series, here on Friday.
Left-handed opener Nick Gubbins anchored the innings to perfection with an unbeaten 128 as Lions chased down a modest target of 233 in only 41.5 overs.
Gubbins’ innings was studded with 10 boundaries and two sixes. He added 134 for the second wicket with Sam Hain (54) and 61 for the third wicket with Liam Livingstone (27) to finish the match in style.
The two Indian spinners — offie Krishnappa Gowtham (0/51 in 7 overs) and left-arm orthodox Krunal Pandya (0/57 in 8.5 overs) proved to be costly as they leaked runs while defending a small total.
Earlier, India ‘A’ captain Shreyas Iyer opted to bat but unlike warm-up games against second string side, his batsmen couldn’t relive the magic.
Both openers Prithvi Shaw (7) and Mayank Agarwal (24) were uncomfortable against the swing bowling of Tom Helm (3/33) and Reece Topley (1/35). Both were dismissed nicking to keeper Ben Foakes.
Skipper Iyer (42) and ‘keeper Rishabh Pant (64 off 78) added 71 runs for the fourth wicket but Iyer and Vijay Shankar’s (0) quick dismissals pegged back India ‘A’ and Pant’s dismissals after hitting seven fours and two sixes saw them reeling at 180 for 7.
Left-arm spinner Liam Dawson (4/30) was the wrecker-in-chief during middle overs as the visitors failed to score quickly. Courtesy Axar Patel (25) and Deepak Chahar (21), India ‘A’ managed to reach 232 but were bowled out in 46.3 overs.
In reply, Gubbins always had things under his control as he hit Chahar and Gowtham for a six each apart from finding the gaps with ease.
The partnership with Hain sealed it in favour of Lions before Livingstone hit a couple of more sixes off Gowtham to put the finishing touches.
(With inputs from PTI)