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Cricket U19: Suthar, Shokeen spin India to victory against South Africa

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Manav Suthar and Hrithik Shokeen took three wickets each to help India under-19s clinch the opening Youth Test match against South Africa U19s by nine wickets, despite a valiant half-century from Bonga Makaka in Trivandrum on Friday. The victory gives the home side a one-nil lead in the two-match series.

Suthar and Shokeen claimed figures of 3/44 and 3/52 respectively, to restrict the tourists to 167 all out after 66 overs in the second innings, having resumed on 34/3 on the penultimate day.

 

Bonga Makaka starred with the bat for South Africa, recording a gutsy 165-ball 74 (8 fours) to give his side a narrow 34-run lead before India secured the win halfway through the second session with the loss of one wicket.

Makaka and Andile Mogakane began day three at the crease, adding 17 runs to the overnight score before Shokeen continued his good form with the ball, removing Mogakane for 30. That wicket brought South Africa’s hero in the match, Bryce Parsons to the middle but the youngster could not replicate his efforts from the first innings. He became Suthar’s first scalp, the all-rounder dismissed for just 16 leaving his side on 74/5, still trailing by 59 runs.

Makaka then found a willing partner in wicket-keeper batsman, Luke Beaufort. The pair fought it out against the hosts’ in-form spinners to see out the rest of the session, Makaka reaching a deserved fifty.

Following an unwanted pattern for the SA U19s, India managed to strike soon after the interval. Shokeen delivered a beauty to remove Beaufort for 11 to end their fledging 45-run, sixth-wicket stand.

Despite taking the lead on the scoreboard, Suthar made further inroads into the South African middle order. Marco Jansen (6) and Achille Cloete (5) were sent back to the dressing room in relatively quick succession, the young South Africans left reeling on 150/8 with a 17-run lead.

Losing partners quickly, Makaka had to attempt to rally with the lower-order, but a combination of smart wicket-keeping and a lapse of concentration from the right-hander allowed for a stumping from India captain, Suraj Ahuja off Shokeen’s bowling.

A courageous effort from number ten batsman, Kgaudise Molefe (14*) carried his side to a 34-run lead before Lifa Ntanzi (1) was run out to end the visitors’ innings on 167 all out.

India needed 35 runs to win and although fast bowler, Ntanzi’s (1/15) opening spell gave the subcontinent side something to think about, the chase was a straightforward one. First-innings centurion, Divyaansh Saxena (18) and Varun Nayanar (19*) managed the situation to get their team over the line, despite the former’s dismissal with six runs to go.

Saxena was given Man of the Match award for his match-winning 122 (224 balls; 12 fours, 1 six).

The second Youth Test will get underway from 09h30 local time (06h00 CAT) Tuesday, 26 February at the Greenfield International Stadium (SportsHub) in Trivandrum.