Panchal, Bharat give India 'A' upper hand over England Lions
A brilliant double century by Priyank Panchal (206) and a quickfire ton by wicketkeeper KS Bharat (142 in 139 balls) helped India 'A' take control against England Lions on the third day of the first unofficial Test on Saturday.
India 'A' declared their innings at 540 for 6 in reply to England Lions' 340 to gain a massive 200-run lead, thanks to Panchal's marathon knock, which came off 313 balls and Bharat's blistering innings that was studded with 11 fours and eight sixes.
Out-of-favour KL Rahul, who had a dismal tour of Australia, finally found his touch and was unbeaten on 88 on Friday. But he could add only one run to his overnight score before spooning a catch to substitute Jamie Overton to give left-arm spinner Danny Briggs his first wicket.
Panchal, 89 not out overnight, continued his imperious form and played some eye-catching shots. He reached his 20th first class century and continued to torment the visiting bowlers with his defence and stroke-making.
Though skipper Ankit Bawne, who nicked one to his counterpart Sam Billings off Zak Chappell and Ricky Bhui (16) didn't last long, Panchal was at his best.
Later, Panchal found an able partner in Bharat, who had been in decent form in the Ranji Trophy, and the two added 196 runs in quick time in little over 37 overs. Bharat belted 11 fours to underline his talent as England Lions bowlers' wilted under the assault.
Panchal fell shortly after completing his double century, edging a delivery from medium-pacer Chappell to Billings behind the stumps.
Bharat continued to flay the Lions bowlers and reached his ton off 105 balls and added 42 runs in 34 balls to complete India's domination.
In reply, England reached 20 without no loss before rain Gods intervened and ended the day's proceedings.