India 'A' struggling at 56/4 against WI 'A'
India 'A' top-order failed to fire once again as the side looked down the barrel at 56 for four while chasing 220 on the third penultimate day of the second unofficial cricket Test against the West Indies 'A' here.
India 'A' bowlers, inspired by Akshay Darekar's six-wicket haul, were again spot on as they bundled out the hosts for 204 but chasing 220, the visiting batsmen were all at sea against pacer Delorn Johnson, who grabbed all the four Indian scalps.
Skipper Cheteshwar Pujara, who has been the rescuer for India on more than one occasion in the ongoing series, was among the four victims of Johnson, making just one run in the second innings.
India's hopes of saving the match or chasing down the target now rest on the off-colour duo of Manoj Tiwary (15) and Rohit Sharma (8) who were at the crease when the stumps were drawn for the day.
Earlier, Darekar was the wrecker-in-chief for India 'A' as he snared six host wickets to single-handedly dismantle their innings. For the Caribbeans, Jonathan Carter (74) and Donovan Pagon (67) were the only batsmen to make noteworthy contributions in an ordinary batting performance.
While Carter struck seven fours in his 97-ball knock before falling to Ashok Dinda, Pagon faced 72 deliveries and sent down four boundaries and an equal number of sixes in his entertaining effort that was ended by Darekar.
Darekar's half a dozen wickets cost just 67 runs in 24 overs, including nine maidens. Faced with a rather modest target, the visiting side could not have asked for a worse start as four of their batsmen found themselves back in the pavillion with the score reading just 30.
None of the four dismissed batsmen managed to touch double figures and Johnson was lethal with his express pace, knocking down the stumps of two, trapping one leg-before and having Pujara caught behind wickets.
Johnson bowled nine overs and conceded just 20 runs in a superlative effort that has given West Indies 'A' a real chance of equalising the three-match series which is led by India 'A' 1-0 after their two-wicket win in the opening game.
West Indies 'A': 217 and 204 (Jonathan Carter 74, Donovan Pagon 67, Kraigg Brathwaite 21; Akshay Darekar 6-67) India 'A': 202 and 57 for four (Delorn Johnson 4-20).