Vishakhapatnam: Veteran Luke Ronchi smashed a quickfire century as New Zealand A recovered from a precarious position to post a respectable 310 against India A on the second day of their three-day match here on Thursday.
For India A, all-rounder Jalaj Saxena did the star turn with his off-breaks grabbing six for 106 in 22.4 overs, while left-arm spinner Rakesh Dhruve got two wickets.
At stumps, India A were six for one having lost Unmukt Chand (4) cheaply. Tomorrow is the last day of the first-class match.
New Zealand were in trouble at one point with the scoreboard reading 106 for six before Ronchi's swift counter-attacking knock of 125 off only 110 balls changed the course of the New Zealand A innings at the Port Trust Stadium.
The 32-year-old Ronchi struck 16 fours and four huge sixes and was involved in a 146-run partnership for the seventh wicket with Todd Astle (63, 157 balls, 7x4), who dropped anchor at the other end. Ronchi, in fact, reached his 50 with a huge six over long-on off Dhruve.
When Ronchi, who had made his international debut for Australia before shifting to his native country, was finally trapped leg-before by seamer Dhawal Kulkarni's incoming delivery.
"There was a bit of help for the spinners but basically it was a flat track. I took my chances and I am happy that it paid off," Ronchi told reporters at the post-match conference.
Earlier, opting to bat on the second day, Saxena impressed one and all with his control although Ronchi did take him on after the initial trouble. The MP all-rounder was not afraid to flight the ball and varied the length.
"I am happy that I could execute my plan perfectly as I have worked on certain variations. The caught and bowled dismissal (Derek de Boorder) that I got was the best among the six," Saxena said.
Left-handed opener Tom Latham (15) prodded at an off-break and was taken at silly point by Jiwanjot Singh.
Daryl Mitchell (0) was taken at first slip by Chand to give Saxena his second wicket.
Carl Cachopa (15) was done in a by a doosra as glovesman CM Gautham effected a smart stumping to give the bowler his third wicket. Jimmy Neesham (27) added 50 runs with Ronchi before he was caught at slip to become Saxena's fourth victim.
Wicketkeeper-batsman de Boorder was deceived by flight and offered a return catch to become Saxena's fifth scalp.
This was his third five-wicket haul in his 53rd first-class match.
Once the sixth wicket fell for 106, it tok another 32 overs before the Indians got another breakthrough in the form of Ronchi.
Brief Scores: New Zealand A (1st Innings) 310 in 77.3 overs (Luke Ronchi 125, Todd Astle 63, Jalaj Saxena 6/106)
India A 6/1 in 3 overs (Unmukt Chand 4, Jiwanjot Singh 1 batting, Sarabjit Ladda 1 batting).