Pant, Mayank shine in ‘drawn’ warm-up game against New Zealand XI


The three-day warm-up game between India and New Zealand XI in Hamilton ended in a draw with the away side making the best use of the opportunity as Mayank Agarwal and Rishabh Pant looked they are getting back in form.

After resuming day three with India 59/0, the men in blue lost Prithvi Shaw early but Mayank and Pant did the bulk of the scoring to take the score to 252/8 from 48 overs before the players shook hands to wrap up the match.

Celebrating his 29th birthday, Mayank looked in great touch and showed promising footwork which was missing in the three-match ODI series. He struck  10 fours and three sixes before retiring out on 84. This is his first real contribution since arriving in New Zealand as part of India A squad last months.

In the absence of injured Rohit Sharma, it will be either Shubhman Gill or Shaw to open with Mayank. But both of the players have failed terribly with the bat in the warm-up game and that has raised concerns for the team management.

Earlier, India were bowled out for only 263 runs in the first innings. They were in all sorts of trouble with 5/3, but thanks to Hanuma Vihari, who struck an outstanding hundred and a determined knock from Cheteshwar Pujara (93). Ish Sodhi was the pick of the bowler for New Zealand XI as he finished with 3/72.

In the second innings, India put a much better performance on day three. Mayank was finally able to break the shackles and scored 84 before retiring. As important as Mayank’s knock was, Pant’s innings comes as a sign of relief for India. He is yet to get a game on this tour, and his attacking knock 70 off 65 balls with four boundaries and four sixes may get him the nod ahead of Wriddhiman Saha.

Prithvi also played a steady knock of 39 and he is most likely to get the opportunity over Gill to open with Mayank in the first Test. In the bowling department for India, Jasprit Bumrah finally managed to pick some wickets after a nightmare of a T20I series. He finished with 2/18 while Mohammad Shami finished with 3/17.

Brief score:

IND 263 (78.5 ov) | Pujara 93, Vihari 101 | Sodhi 3/72
NZ XI 235 (74.2 ov) | Cooper 40 | Shami 3/17, Bumrah 2/18
IND 252/4 (48 ov) | Mayank 81*, Pant 70 | Mitchell 3/33

Result: Match Drawn