Bengal and uncapped India seamer Ranadeb Bose clinched a five-wicket haul in only his second game of the tour to give selectors something to think about ahead of next week's final Test match against England at the Brit Oval. Bose, who emerged as top wicket taker in the previous Ranji season, took 5 for 51 in 18.2 overs to help India dismiss Sri Lanka A for 266 on the first day of the three-day tour match at Grace Road in Leicester.
Off-spinner Ramesh Powar chipped in with 4 for 85, taking three of his wickets in four balls as the Lankans suffered a late collapse. By the close India had reached 25 for 1 in their reply.Batting stars Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly plus front-line seamers Zaheer Khan, RP Singh and Sreesanth were rested ahead of the Oval Test next Thursday.
Their absence provided a chance for some of the fringe players to shine and it was Bose who made most of the opportunity. The 28-year-old seamer, who has battled his way back into the international picture this year, produced a stunning spell either side of the lunch interval after the Sri Lankans had made a solid start.
India's only success in the first 29 overs was the wicket of Mehela Udawatte who was bowled off his pads trying to sweep Powar.An entertaining stand of 73 between Michael Vandort and Dilruwan Perara followed that wicket. Perara rode his luck at times but both batsmen produced some flowing attacking strokes.
Vandort struck a huge six off Ishant Sharma and Perara did the same at the expense of Powar as Sri Lanka eased past the 100 mark. But Bose returned just before lunch to transform India's fortunes. He had Perara caught at slip minutes before the interval and then removed Malinda Warnapura and Vandort in his first two overs after it.
Warnapura edged to slip and Vandort, having made 52 off 98 balls was caught at cover attempting an expansive drive. The best batting of the innings came from Sri Lankan captain Thilan Samaraweera who scored 75 off 100 balls including nine sweetly-struck boundaries.
But he then edged behind to become the first of three victims in four balls for Powar as the Sri Lankans collapsed, losing their last four wickets for seven runs. Bose took the final one, while Dinesh Karthik, keeping wicket instead of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, claimed three catches.
Karthik was not as successful however when India batted, edging a catch behind off Dammika Prasad with a loose drive when he had made 11 and at stumps India were 25 for one off 11 overs.Bose said: "Everybody's dream is to play for India but all the players did so well in the last Test match and I won't be upset if I am not picked. But it is up to the team management to decide.
"We now have a bowling coach and I am very lucky to have had so much help from all the backroom staff on this my first tour. "I think our bowling has been fantastic in English conditions. "I feel I am a better bowler when the ball is older and I think that is how the management see me. I certainly bowled better in my second spell and it was a great feeling to take five wickets in a tour match."
Sri Lanka A Ist innings 266 all out (Thilan Samaraweera 75, Michael Vandort 52, Lokuarachchi 35, Perera 34; Randeb Bose 5 for 51, Powar 4 for 85) Vs India Ist innings 25 for 1 (Karthik 11; Dammika Prasad 1 for 3).