A run-a-ball century by 25-year-old Barbadian Jonathan Carter (133, 132b, 18x4, 3x6) powered the West Indies ‘A’ to a deserving 55-run win over a wayward India ‘A’ to level the three-match one-day series 1-1 at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here Tuesday.
Asked to bat first, the visitors recovered from a poor start and with Carter playing the anchor-role to perfection, made 279/6 in their 50 overs. In reply, India A, who had won the opening game Sunday, paid the price for some indiscreet strokeplay to be all out for 224 with seamer Miguel Cummins claiming 4/29.
25-year-old Carter grabbed two for 33 in 6.4 overs with his right-arm seam-up stuff. Carter got the first and last wickets of the Indian innings in Robin Uthappa and Jaydev Unadkat.
The India ‘A’ response to the challenging target was rather disappointing though opener Unmukt Chand (38), skipper Yuvraj Singh (40) and Kedar Jadhav (35) provided some hope. However, Yuvraj's dismissal, when he drove left-arm spinner Nikita Miller uppishly to be caught in the covers, triggered the India A collapse.
As well as the Windies bowled, the hosts contributed to their own downfall with some indiscreet shots and their innings never really gained any appreciable momentum, especially after a poor start.
Yuvraj and Chand added 64 runs for the third wicket after opener Robin Uthappa (10) and Mandeep Singh (3) fell cheaply. Once Chand departed after looking well set, Yuvraj and Jadhav put on 32 for the fourth.
However, a double strike by Miller, who removed Yuvraj and Yusuf Pathan off consecutive deliveries, effectively ended the game for India.
Yuvraj again top-scored with 40 (58 balls, 3x4, 1x6) but once he was dismissed by left-arm spinner Nikita Miller in the 28th over, the writing was on the wall. The India ‘A’ captain loosely lobbed a catch to his counterpart Kieran Powell standing in covers.
West Indies A then tightened their hold on the game by taking wickets at regular intervals to send the Indians hurtling to defeat while an entertaining last-wicket partnership between Shahbaz Nadeem (21 not out) and Jaidev Unadkat (15) provided some flourish to an otherwise disappointing innings.
Earlier, the West Indies A innings was all about Carter who played a typical Caribbean-style innings marked by conspicuous leg-side shots that had sufficient power and timing to breach the field.
Carter, after surviving a chance when on six in a total of 56/2, displayed character to pull his side out of hot waters after Vinay Kumar had both openers Andre Fletcher (15) and Kieran Powell (4) caught behind by Naman Ojha in a spell of 10 deliveries.
Playing with understandable circumspection, Kirk Edwards (36) and Carter added 79 runs for the third wicket before Edwards was foxed by Pathan's off-break to be stumped. The experienced Andre Russell (12) flopped again as he lofted Pathan to Narwal and the visitors were tottering at 112/4 by the 28th over.
Then came the crucial 131-run association between Carter, who was beginning to bat with some refreshing freedom, and Leon Johnson (39) for the fifth wicket that provided some momentum to the West Indies A innings with 97 runs coming off the last 10 overs as the visitors eventually finished on 279/6.
India A made one change, Shabhaz Nadeem coming in for Rahul Sharma while West Indies A included Leon Johnson, Veerasammy Permaul and Carter.
India 'A' skipper Yuvraj Singh summed up accurately when he pointed out that centurion Jonathan Carter's dropped catch when he was on six, besides poor batting, contributed to the 55-run defeat against West Indies A in the second of the three one-day games here Tuesday.
"We did not bowl well and Carter's dropped catch was also a factor. We should have restricted them to about 260. No one in our batting line-up got going. We did not field well and if you want to win, you need to bowl well too," said Yuvraj at the post-match interaction with the media.
The skipper, on a comeback trail and who piloted his team to victory in the opening game Sunday with a century, admitted that the early loss of wickets put the team under pressure.
"The two early wickets put us under pressure. They bowled in the right areas. We did not get good partnerships and they did not let us score. The ball was moving a bit but we did not get enough wickets. If the guys do not get runs, we will not win. There should have been small partnerships and then we would have had a chance," Yuvraj added.
West Indies A captain Kieran Powell attributed his team's success to Carter's century and also strengthening of the bowling department.
"Carter played a massive role in our win, particularly considering the situation we were in. It was expected of him and he delivered. We juggled the bowlers little bit and worked on the field settings and it worked out," said Powell.
With the series tied at 1-1, the two teams face each other in the third and final game of the series Thursday at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.