India ‘A’ call shots with ball too

Leg-spinner Karn Sharma’s joy knew no bounds when he beat Mahela Jayawardene with the line as the Sri Lankan veteran attempted to pick him on the on-side, only to miss and be castled. Sharma looked like the only bowler to take wickets on the day, foxing the rival batsmen with his flight, bounce and turn.

India ‘A’ call shots with ball too

At a time when leg-spinners in India have suddenly become as rare as Albino lions, the 27-year-old Uttar Pradesh-born Railways bowler has given the art a new lease of life. You can expect Sharma to be among the wickets whenever he comes onto bowl. Even in conditions that suit batting, as was the case on Thursday at the Brabourne Stadium.

The India ‘A’ bowler struck with his first delivery, trapping the experienced Tillakaratne Dilshan, forcing the batsman to play across the line off the back foot. He induced opener and Lankan top-scorer Upul Tharanga (76) to offer a simple catch straight to mid-wicket and had skipper Angelo Mathews play a false shot high to mid-wicket before getting the prize catch of Jayawardene. Sharma led the India ‘A’ spinners’ charge to finish with 4/47 in 10 overs.
“The target of 383 was good for us to bowl at and I wanted to bowl in the right areas, forcing them into making mistakes,” Sharma said.

Parvez Rasool was also among the wickets. The Jammu and Kashmir all-rounder, who bowls off-spin, got the better of another match-winner in Kumar Sangakkara. Rasool got one to turn just enough for the classy left-hander to edge it to wicketkeeper Sanju Samson.

Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav did not have much going his way, though he saw the back of big-hitting Thisara Perera, courtesy a catch in the deep by Rohit Sharma. That said, the 19-year-old from Uttar Pradesh will only get wiser.
On a day when Sri Lankans were smashed all over the ground — except for one Dhammika Prasad over in which he took three wickets — it was India ‘A’ who called the shots. With a total of 382 to defend, the bowlers also had to show the right approach to stop the runs. New-ball bowler Dhawal Kulkarni, who has been included in the ODI squad for the five-match series against the same opponents, impressed initially and also in the batting powerplay.

During the period when the field restrictions were in vogue, India ‘A’ dictated terms. While India ‘A’ amassed 72/0 in the first powerplay and 71/0 in the batting powerplay, the visitors managed only 51/2 and 37/1 in the same passages of play.

Bangar was particularly pleased with Kulkarni’s efforts. “All of them bowled to a plan and executed them really well. Also to mention Dhawal (Kulkarni), he picked up a wicket with the new ball and even one in the second powerplay. The way he gave a good account of himself — the varieties in his bowling, the slow bouncers, different angles, bowling the yorkers, he executed them really well.”