Johannesburg – South African seamer Beuran Hendricks took a career-best 11 wickets for 63 runs, to steer South Africa A to a 121-run victory over India A at the Tuks Cricket Oval in Pretoria on Tuesday.
SA A skittled India A for 185 after tea on the final day, to share the two match series 1-1.
Hendricks started the morning with three quick wickets, dismissing Shahbaz Nadeem (5), Dinesh Karthik (0) and Ambati Rayudu (1) in the opening five overs, which left the visitors in trouble at 18/5.
Ajinkya Rahane (86) and Wriddhiman Saha (77 not out) batted for two sessions to put on a threatening sixth-wicket partnership of 160, which took India A to 177 for five, still needing 130 runs for victory.
But just 30 minutes after tea, Hendricks and Simon Harmer (3/79) wrapped-up the innings.
Hendricks showed signs of improvement as the tour progressed, but saved his best performance for last, in front of Proteas' head coach Russell Domingo and national selectors who were present on Monday.
Tuesday's performance provided Hendricks his maiden 10-wicket-haul and one he describes as the best performance of his career.
“I really just tried to keep it as simple as possible, I kept my mind clear and focused on hitting the deck hard,” he said.
“I've learnt that this is a different level, you need to be at your best at all times, there is no margin for error.”
The South Africans showed resilience to bounce back from a disappointing innings and 13 run loss in the first match in Rustenburg last week, and put in an improved all-round performance.
Tuesday's victory was particularly pleasing for coach Vincent Barnes, who admitted that his side had been outclassed in the first game, but showed what they could do in the second.
“There is no doubt that we were outplayed by the Indian bowlers and batsmen in the first match,” Barnes said.
“They had a lot more skill and they knew what to do, but sometimes you learn a lot more by watching how other people perform.
“We knew the conditions we were coming back to and it was important for us to execute the lessons we learnt from the last match, I feel we did that well.”
SA A skipper Justin Ontong commended his players for the way they fought back after their disappointing performance in the first match.
“It was very important for us to win after the loss in Rustenburg last week,” Ontong said.
“We needed a win against India especially because they have beaten us a few times. I'm happy about the character the boys showed to come back.
“In the first innings we were down and out at 13 for three and Wayne Parnell and Simon Harmer really put their hands up.
“I'm sure from a national point-of-view, the selectors will be happy about the fact that there were players who stood up to be taken note of.” – Sapa