Chennai:Sourav Ganguly failed to get the match practice that he desperately sought ahead of the opening Test against Australia after being dismissed for just 14 runs but India A recovered from a shaky start to post 162 for three in their first innings on the second day of the four-day cricket match against New Zealand A on Saturday.
Unbeaten knocks by opener M Vijay (76) and Cheteshwar Pujara (49) helped India A after their bowlers fought back well to dismiss New Zealand A, overnight 3/270, for 315 in 30 overs just before lunch.
But the host team's first innings did not start on a very confident note and they were reeling at 56 for three with opener Sahil Kukreja (0), captain Suresh Raina (11) and Ganguly (14), who was run out, back in the pavilion.
Ganguly started off with a boundary to the third man, played cautiously thereafter, picking a few singles with Vijay getting more strike.
Kiwi skipper Peter Fulton introduced spin in the form of Nathan McCullum and runs became scarce. However, an unfazed Ganguly swept him to the fence when he strayed down the leg-side.
But the fireworks did not last long and Ganguly got out in the 23rd over. Vijay played the ball in the square leg region and called for a quick single.
Ganguly responded a trifle late and a direct throw from James Marshall caught him out of the crease at the striker's end with his bat in the air. He faced 39 balls during his 57 minute stay at the crease.
But, Vijay (192b, 9x4, 2x6) teamed up with Pujara (118b, 4x4) to resurrect the Indian innings. The two added 106 valuable runs in 39 overs for the unfinished fourth wicket stand.
Earlier, leg-spinner Amit Mishra (6/81) continued with his impressive performance as he claimed four wickets conceding just 19 runs off his 12 overs this morning and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja took two for 50 as New Zealand batting collapsed for yet another time.
Medium pacer R P Singh provided the breakthrough in the morning sending back Greg Hay, who looked dangerous yesterday, for 49 after the batsmen added just five runs.
The Indian reply started on a disastrous note with Kukreja getting out in the second over, edging Trent Boult to wicketkeeper Reece Young after playing outside the off stump. Raina was trapped leg before by Bradely Scott in his very first over, the 10th in the innings, with the score on 24.
Vijay, who scored 57 in the second innings of the previous match, and Pujara then rebuilt the innings mixing caution and stroke play in the post-tea session.
Both did not hesitate to punish the bowlers whenever they erred. Vijay reached his half-century in the 44th over with a flick to the fine leg fence off McCullum and the team's 100 was also up.
McCullum, who claimed eight wickets in the first match, shouldered the bowling responsibility from the pavilion end and at one stage bowled unchanged for 19 overs but did not cause much trouble to Vijay and Pujara. He came in for special treatment from Vijay, who hit him for two sixes both over mid-wicket.
The batsmen cut loose in the last hour and runs started flowing, forcing Fulton to make frequent bowling changes but without any success.