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Cricket news - Gaikwad's barnstorming 187* sets up thumping win for India A

Rituraj Gaikwad scores 187* against Sri Lanka A. PC - BCCI's Twitter handle

After hammering Sri Lanka A in the multi-day formats, India A continued their merry way and inflicted more wounds on the visitors by registering a thumping 48-run win in the first unofficial ODI in Belagavi on Thursday (June 6).

Overnight rains in the northern part of Karnataka meant that the ground took a lot of pounding which left the outfield in a soggy state and as expected, the start was delayed for nearly two hours. Once the match officials assessed the conditions and deemed it fit, the contest was reduced to an 45-over affair. Considering the murky weather, Sri Lanka A captain Ashan Priyanjan opted to bowl first and Lahiru Kumara validated his skipper's decision by striking as early as in the third over of the match, getting rid of the promising Shubman Gill for 5.

There was little to cheer for them post that as Rituraj Gaikwad and Anmolpreet Singh started the rebuilding job. Both batsmen played calculative and risk-free cricket, kept pushing the scorecard and recorded fifties. The ballooning 163-run stand was finally broken by Lankan skipper Priyanjan, who dismissed Anmolpreet for 65. Rituraj changed his gears and reached his hundred without breaking a sweat. At no point, did the Maharashtra opener take his foot off the pedal and also found a suitable ally in Ishan Kishan, who also flayed the hapless Sri Lankan bowling disdainfully. India A ransacked 130 runs in the last 12 overs with the opener remaining unbeaten on a mammoth 187 which enabled the hosts in putting up an insurmountable total of 317/4. Lahiru Kumara was the pick of the bowlers for Sri Lanka A, taking three wickets for 62.

It was a no-brainer that Sri Lanka needed some kind of spark at the top but they were jolted early, getting reduced to 22 for two inside five overs. Shehan Jayasuriya and Ashan Priyaanjan weathered the storm for a while before the impressive leggie Mayank Markande struck in the 23rd over and gave India a timely breakthrough by removing the Lankan skipper. Kamindu Mendis walked in next and didn't last long. Dasun Shanaka displayed his pyrotechnics and unsettled the Indian spinners en route to his 31-ball 44 before Markande ended his watch. Jayasuriya was the only hope for the Sri Lankan A side but with the required rate peaking and pressure building every over, the left-hand batsman was content to play the catch-up game but seemed determined to put up a fight. He struck a fine hundred and remained unbeaten on 108, although his knock went in vain as Sri Lanka A finished with 269 for six, falling short of the target by 48 runs.

The hosts go 1-0 up in the five-match series and the second game is scheduled on June 8 (Saturday) at the same venue.

Brief scores: India A 317/4 (Rituraj Gaikwad 187*, Anmolpreet Singh 65; Lahiru Kumara 3-62) in 42 overs beat Sri Lanka A (Shehan Jayasuriya 108*; Mayank Markande 2-66) by 48 runs.

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