Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews called right but perhaps made the wrong decision to bowl first. India 'A' openers Sharma and Unmukt Chand putting on 96 for the first wicket. But, after Chand's departure (54; 64b, 8x4, 1x6), in walked Pandey. Sharma, who had by then got his eye in, chimed in with Pandey looking composed right from the first ball. The duo played some beautiful cricketing strokes, and at one point it was difficult to fathom who among the two was timing the ball better.
Sharma, who has not played in more than two months, never really looked in any trouble against an average Sri Lankan attack. For his part, Pandey, who has been doing the bulk of the scoring for Karnataka in Ranji Trophy and his franchise Kolkata Knight Riders in T20 competitions, looked in supreme form.
Just when it looked like they would breach the 400-run barrier, Sharma was run out to a direct throw from the deep by Lahiru Gamage. By then he had made a 111-ball 142. His knock included 18 boundaries and one six. Pandey remained un beaten with a 113-ball 135. He hit 15 boundaries and a six.
India 'A' coach Sanjay Bangar was satisfied with the team's performance, especially with the way the duo batted. "Rohit is a quality player. He didn't get a game because of the injury. His match fitness had to be assessed and that was the reason the selectors had dropped him. He gave a fantastic account of himself. He has been practicing really hard over the last 10 days at BKC. And he showed that he has completely recovered from the injury. He fielded throughout the 50 overs and these are good signs for the Indian team," Bangar said of Sharma Bangar had a word of praise for Pandey too. "Manish has been batting pretty consistently. Karnataka have won the Irani, the Ranji Trophy. And he has played an important hand in those victories. He had a fantastic IPL too, win ning the title for KKR.
He is always on the fringes and today's knock will do his con fidence a world of good because he came at a time when the wicket was expected to aid bowlers. So, from that per spective, it must have been very satisfying knock for Manish."
Chasing a mammoth total, Sri Lanka lost wickets as consistently as Sharma and Pandey were hitting the boundaries. Other than Upul Tharanga, who made a 75-ball 76, none of the Sri Lankan could do much.
For India 'A', Karn Sharma was the pick of the bowlers. He claimed the big wickets of Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan (14), Mahela Jayawardene (33) and Angelo Mathews (3). The Lankans eventually ran out of overs and finished their innings on 294/9.
India A 382 for 6 (Rohit 142, Pandey 135*, Chand 54) beat Sri Lanka 294 for 9 (Tharanga 76, Karn 4-47) by 88 runs.
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