Pretoria: India A bowlers ripped through South Africa A top order before letting the home side escape with a respectable 231 for six on the opening day of the second unofficial Test here on Saturday.
Impressive spells by all-rounder Parvez Rasool and pacer Ishwar Pandey saw the South Africans being reduced to a precarious 128 for six at tea before lower order batsmen Wayne Parnell and Simon Harmer rescued the home side with a fine 134-run stand for the unbroken seventh wicket.
At the draw of stumps, Parnell and Harmer were going strong on 64 not out and 68 not out respectively. Parnell has so far hit eight fours in his ball 172-ball unconquered innings while Harmer had smashed nine fours and a six in his 115-ball unbeaten knock.
The Indians seemed to have put their feet off the pedal in the last session which yielded 103 runs without any wicket as the South Africans posted a decent score on the opening day which saw 81.3 overs being bowled after the start of the match was delayed due to wet square at LC de Villiers Oval.
The visitors, who were aiming for a clean sweep in the two-match series after their emphatic innings win in the first match, looked set to skittle the South Africans for a paltry total after reducing them to 97 for six in 34 overs but failed to go for the kill after tea break.
Parnell and Harmer took a long time to settle down and they grafted for runs as the situation demanded before they got a measure of the pitch and Indian bowlers who seemed to have no clue on how to remove the duo.
Earlier, South Africa A`s decision to bat first backfired as Indian pacers used the conditions well and bowled a stifling line and length to tie down the opposition batsmen.
Jammu and Kashmir lad Rasool and pacer Ishwar Pandey bowled impressive spells to grab two wickets each as India `A` reduced the home side to 128 for six at tea.
The home side were at a precarious 51 for four when lunch was taken after 19.4 overs and Rasool then grabbed two wickets in the space of four balls in the 34th over to reduce South Africa A to 97 for six midway in the second session.
He first removed wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile (13) with a short-pitched delivery and then dismissed Temba Bavuma (42) LBW in the last ball of the over.
At tea, taken after 51 overs, South Africa were in deep trouble before Parnell and Harmer did the rescue act in the final session.
South Africa A got off to a disastrous start as openers Dean Elgar (0) and Reeza Hendricks (2) were dismissed off successive deliveries.
Elgar was removed by youngster Siddharth Kaul off the last ball of the fourth over when the left hander mis-timed a short delivery and was safely caught by Shahbaz Nadeem at short mid wicket.
Hendricks too played a loose shot and fell prey to Pandey in the first ball of the very next over, to peg South Africa A at two runs for two wickets in the fifth over.
24-year-old Pandey dealt another blow to the South Africa A camp when he sent Rilee Rossouw (3) to the pavilion in his next over. The hosts were 11 for three in the seventh over with Rossouw adding just three runs to the team`s total.
Skipper Justin Ontong then joined Temba Bavuma at the crease and fought hard to get their team out of initial shock.
The duo cautiously played the Indian seamers adding 40 runs for the fourth wicket before left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem got the scalp of Ontong (28) with Murali Vijay taking the catch.
Bavuma then forged another partnership with Thami Tsolekile (13) to take South Africa A close to the three figure mark. Just as when the duo looked set, adding 46 runs, Rasool delivered twin blows to the hosts in his second over.