Rajkot: Test discard Hemang Badani struck a fine century while young Munaf Patel produced another fiery spell to jolt the visitors as the three-day cricket match between India 'A' and New Zealand ended in a tame draw on Saturday. Badani's knock of 127 helped the home side take a slender 28 runs lead over the New Zealanders who were reduced to 68 for four before the draw of stumps at the Corporation Stadium. After Badani's exploits with the bat, untested Patel gave a virtual scare to the tourists ahead of the first Test match when he, along with spinner Murali Kartik, effected a New Zealand batting collapse.
Patel and Kartik took two wickets apiece to reduce the visitors to 37 for four in the 12th over before opener Lou Vincent (28 not out) and Craig McMillan (17 not out) stem the rot in an eventful last session of play. India 'A's 28-run first innings lead looked quite impressive at one stage as the Kiwis, who had made 375 for seven declared in their first innings, lost wickets at regular intervals. First innings centurion Mark Richardson was dismissed early in his second knock when Kartik had him caught by Rohan Gavaskar at mid-on on second attempt. Richardson's early dismissal saw a promotion in batting order for Nathan Astle, who had failed to open his account in the first innings. But the stylish batsman did not last long as he fell leg before to Patel for five.
Skipper Stephen Fleming also failed with the bat for the second consecutive time when he became Patel's second victim after making just three. Fleming, who made 27 in the first innings, was snapped by Gavaskar at the point region with New Zealand's on 34. Three runs later Kartik dealt another blow when he had all-rounder Scott Styris snicking one to wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta. Styris failed to open his account. With time running out, the home team pressed hard for a few more wickets but Vincent and McMillan played out the remaining 15 overs to force the draw. Earlier, Badani scored a magnificent century to frustrate the Kiwi bowlers who toiled hard to prevent the India 'A' from taking the lead.
Playing with a fractured hand, Badani struck 16 fours and six sixes during his 186-ball knock to become the fourth centurion of the match. Resuming at his overnight score of seven, Badani added 72 runs with wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta (21). The Tamil Nadu batsman, who was dropped by Paul Wiseman when on 81, reached the three-figure mark in style lifting left arm spinner Daniel Vettori for a six over long-on. Earlier, resuming at their overnight score of 216 for four, India 'A' lost their overnight batsman and left hander Murali Kartik (10), who gave a simple catch to Hart while trying to duck an Oram bouncer. Kartik hit two boundaries during his 42 minutes of stay at the crease.
Initially Badani scratched around and found the runs hard to come by with his injury restricting his movement. But once he settled down, he looked a lot more comfortable. His new partner Rohan Gavaskar did not last long as he offered a bat-pad catch to forward short leg fielder Mark Richardson off a Vettori floater after making just one run. After losing two quick wickets, India 'A' struggled to score runs and could just add 48 runs in 120 minutes off play in the morning session. For New Zealand, both Vettori and Tuffey took three wickets apiece.