With a match-high nine wickets, left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar mounted a strong claim to replace Ravindra Jadeja in the next Test series as Bangladesh A fought valiantly to save India A from winning the first unofficial Test match in Cox Bazar on Friday. After battling for 151 overs in the second innings after giving up a big first-innings lead of 353 runs, Bangladesh A was barely clinging on at 343 for 9 until the game finished in a draw. Saurabh was outstanding in the second innings after taking four wickets in the first one with figures of 5/63 in 43 overs, but off-spinner Jayant Yadav’s lack of penetration (1/134 in 47 overs) from the other end was the deciding factor.
The match stats for Saurabh looked impressive: 51-21-86-9, while Jayant was clearly outclassed. Sarfaraz Khan was introduced for a stint by Abhimanyu Easwaran after the Haryana opener failed to provide breakthroughs, and he also claimed a wicket. Before being the eighth batter to be struck out by Saurabh, Zakir Hasan (173, 402 balls), who batted for nearly 10 and a half hours, was the main architect of Bangladesh’s draw.
The important 13-run eighth wicket stand between Zakir and Nayeem Hasan was the game-saving partnership for Bangladesh A. (5 off 45 balls). They successfully stopped India for 15.4 overs as a group, which was essential. The last 14 deliveries of the game were defended by Nos. 10 and 11, Rejaur Rahaman Raja (5 not out, 16 balls) and Khaled Ahmed (0 not out, 2 balls), to eke out a draw.