In-form RCB batter saves the day for India A, smashes sensational ton against England Lions
On a rather disappointing day for the hosts, Rajat Patidar emerged as the sole beacon of resilience for India A on the second day of their first unofficial Test against England Lions at Narendra Modi Stadium Ground A in Ahmedabad. While India's batting lineup crumbled, Patidar carved a niche for himself, hitting an explosive century under pressure.
The day unfolded with a grim picture for India A, as they were reduced to a concerning 95 for 7. The top order, including captain Abhimanyu Easwaran and B Sai Sudharsan, faltered early, contributing meager scores of 4 and 0, respectively. The middle order didn't fare much better, with Sarfaraz Khan and Pradosh Ranjan Paul making negligible contributions to the scoreboard. Wicketkeeper-batter KS Bharat, expected to be a part of India's playing XI for the first two Tests against England, continued his disappointing run, being dismissed for a mere 15.
In stark contrast stood Rajat Patidar, the Royal Challengers Bangalore star, who not only stabilized the innings but did so with a flair that kept the spectators on the edge of their seats. Scoring a rapid hundred off just 94 balls, Patidar's innings was a mix of grit and grandeur, culminating in a spectacular six to bring up his century. But his hunger for runs didn't wane post the milestone. With partners dwindling at the other end, Patidar accelerated, amassing an impressive 140 off 132 balls, decorated with 18 boundaries and 5 sixes. His heroics brought India A's total to 215 for 8 by the close of day's play, though they still trail the England Lions by a significant 338 runs.
Ra-Pa Rescue 💪— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) January 18, 2024
Rajat held the fort as wickets tumbled around him, notching up another brilliant 💯 for India A in the ongoing Multi-Day series 🆚 England Lions! ♨️#PlayBold #INDAvENGL #TeamIndia @rrjjt_01 pic.twitter.com/eTfR2iCmqs
Is Rajat Patidar's rich vein of form enough to get him a Test call up?
Patidar's performance comes at a crucial juncture in his career. After a year marred by an Achilles heel injury, his comeback has been nothing short of sensational. Despite being in the ODI squads against South Africa in 2022 and 2023, intense competition kept him off the field. He did make his ODI debut in the last tour of South Africa though, where he scored only 22 runs. Yet, his recent exploits, including a 12th first-class century and third for India A in just 12 innings, suggest a player knocking hard on the doors of Test cricket. Patidar also scored a ton in the practice match against the England Lions a week back.
The England Lions, on the other hand, had set the stage with a batting masterclass on Day 1. Led by the prowess of Keaton Jennings, who marked his 27th first-class century with a scintillating 154 off 188 balls, the Lions put up a mammoth 553 for 8. Jennings, along with significant contributions from Alex Lees and skipper Josh Bohanon, orchestrated an aggressive batting display that left the India A bowlers scrambling for answers.
As the match progresses, all eyes will be on Rajat Patidar, whose current form and unyielding spirit on the field hint at a promising future. Whether this lone warrior's efforts can turn the tide for India A remains to be seen, but for now, Patidar's innings stands as a testament to his burgeoning talent and unwavering determination.