India commits hara-kiri, McCullum bags six wkts

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Chennai, Sep 28 (UNI) Off spinner Nathan McCullum grabbed six wickets as spineless batting display coupled with indiscreet shot selection saw India-A crash to 248 all out against New Zealand-A on the opening day of the first of the two four-day contests here today.

In reply, the Kiwis were 36 for no loss, when stumps were drawn.

Electing to bat first, India lost Sahil Kurkeja (5) early as he was trapped in front by Michal Mason.

Shikar Dhiwan (27) and M Vijay (45, 66 balls, 7x4) added 71 runs for the second wicket in 21.2 overs before the innings lost the momentum.

The absence of players like S Badrinath, who was away on duty for Irani Trophy, Rohit Sharma, Irfan Pathan and Piyush Chawala, who had left for Hyderabad to join the Board President's XI team for the warm up match against Australia, were felt as the Indian-A middle order caved in.

Stand-in skipper Suresh Raina (21) and Jaydev Shah (38, 55 balls, 5x4) got starts but failed to build on as the home team crashed from 79 for one to 156 for five.

The stuttering team was briefly revived by in-form Yusuf Pathan (44, 63 balls, 4x4, 2x6) amd Wriddhiman Saha (25) before they fell to the guiles of McCullum, who broke the back of the innings.

Poor shot selection also contributed to India's downfall as some of the players holed out in the deep.

Nathan McCullum, who bowled one-end unchanged finished with figures of 30.4-2-90-6 and leg-spinner Watling chipped in with two wickets as the Indian innings ended in 75.4 overs.

The Kiwi openers Aaron Redmond (31 batting, 4x4, 1x6) and B J Watling (two, batting) played out the overs to ensure that the visitors had the upperhand at the end of the day.

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