Mysuru: Skipper Aiden Markram and all-rounder Wiaan Mulder hit superb hundreds as South Africa 'A' fought their way to 400 all out against India 'A' on day three of the second unofficial Test on Thursday.
Markram geared up for the three-Test series against India with a superb 161, while Mulder produced an unbeaten 131 — his fourth first-class century — as the visitors came within 17 runs of India A's first innings of 471.
The duo added 155 runs for the sixth wicket stand to resurrect the South Africa A's innings after they were struggling at 142 for 5 at one stage.
The home team were 14 for no loss in six overs before bad light resulted in play being called off with over 25 overs still to be bowled.
Resuming at the overnight score of 159 for 5, Markram and Mulder led a brilliant fightback for South Africa 'A'.
The tall Markram, touted for big things in future, handled the India 'A' pacers and the three-pronged spin attack well. He hit 20 fours and 2 sixes in his 263-ball knock.
Their stand dashed any hopes India 'A' had of wrapping up the Proteas innings quickly after their struggles on Wednesday.
The India 'A' bowlers went wicketless in the first session as Markram and Mulder played in a judicious manner.
Mohammed Siraj finally ended Markram's knock, having him bowled at the 87th over.
Mulder, who mixed defence with aggression, continued to frustrate the home team bowlers, adding 59 runs for the seventh wicket with Vernon Philander (21) and 39 runs for the eighth wicket with Dane Piedt (11).
Shivam Dube ended the Mulder-Philander partnership by getting the latter, caught by Karun Nair.
Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav (4/121) dismissed Piedt and Lutho Sipamla (0) before Shahbaz Nadeem (3/76) ended the innings by getting No 11 Lungi Ngidi leg-before for a duck.
Mulder, who was left stranded on the other end, finished on a splendid 131 (230 balls), which included 17 fours and a six.
In their second innings, India 'A' openers Priyank Panchal (9) and Abhimanyu Easwaran (5) took the score to 14, extending the lead to 31 before bad light ended proceedings for the day.
Brief Scores: India 'A' 1st innings: 417 all out (Shubman Gill 92, Karun Nair 78, Shivam Dube 68, Wriddhiman Saha 60, Jalaj Saxena 48 not out, Umesh Yadav 24; Wiaan Mulder 3/47, Dane Piedt 3/78) and 14 for no loss.
South Africa 'A': 400 all out (Aiden Markram 161, Wiaan Mulder 131 not out, Theunis de Bruyn 41, Kuldeep Yadav 4/121, Shahbaz Nadeem 3/76, Md Siraj 2/72).
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
"Wriddhiman Saha felt stiffness in his neck while keeping in the second innings. It was affecting his movement while wicket-keeping. KS Bharat will keep wickets in his absence on Day 5," said the BCCI in a statement.
Pacer Junior Dala has been called up as Ngidi's replacement, Cricket South Africa (CSA) said in a statement.
India A players will need to keep the thoughts of the new variant at bay and focus on the task at hand as they revive their battle with South Africa A in Bloemfontein