Michael Vaughan hit a tour-best 87 in Delhi yesterday to shrug off his run of poor form and put himself back in the frame for the back-to-back second and third "Tests" against India A.
England A should complete victory by a huge margin today against second-rate opposition but Vaughan, for one, has relished his last chance to impress.
The 20-year-old Yorkshire opener has found life tough in India following his swift elevation from the England Under-19 ranks. Scores of just one and two in last week's first "Test" in Bangalore left Vaughan's position in grave doubt, but yesterday's innings - plus the unfortunate David Hemp's first-ball duck - may earn him a reprieve.
"I hadn't spent much time in the middle on this tour and this was a very important innings for me," Vaughan said. "It's not a big game in terms of the opposition, but it was still a very big game to me."
Leg-spinner Ian Salisbury also showed some signs of a return to form, taking Universities' opener, Vasant Kumar, lbw for 46 with a perfectly-pitched googly in his second over.
The Lancashire paceman Glen Chapple enjoyed an early wicket with the new ball, on his 21st birthday, but the students - set an academic 603 to win - battled to reach 96 for 2 by the close of the third day.
Earlier, having finished Universities' first innings, England A decided, quite properly, not to enforce the follow-on in order to give some players an extra opportunity to make runs against friendly bowling on a good batting surface.
ENGLAND A - First Innings 553 (M R Ramprakash 124, J E R Gallian 100, P N Weekes 93, A P Wells 51).
COMBINED UNIVERSITIES XI - First Innings (Overnight: 149-9)
D Pawar c sub b Johnson 9
P Khole not out 9
Extras (b4 lb2 nb8) 14
Total (60 overs) 165
Bowling: Chapple 7-1-25-0; Johnson 19-6-43-3; Gallian7-1-36-2; Patel 11-2-19-1; Salisbury 12-3-26-2; Wells 4-0-10-1.
ENGLAND A - Second Innings D L Hemp lbw b Tandon 0
M P Vaughan c Pathak b Bali 87
K J Piper b Khole 48
M M Patel c Pathak b Bali 56
G Chapple st Mewada b Pathak 16
I D K Salisbury not out 4
Extras (lb3) 3
Total (for 5 dec, 43.1 overs) 214
Fall: 1-0 2-85 3-187 4-210 5-214
Did not bat: M R Ramprakash, *A P Wells, P N Weekes, J E R Gallian, R L Johnson.
Bowling: Tandon 10-1-46-1; Pawar 5-0-29-0; Singh 11-3-45-0; Khole 10-0-47-1;Pathak 1.1-0-6-1; Bali 6-0-38-2.
COMBINED UNIVERSITIES XI - Second Innings J L Das Chowdhry lbw b Chapple 4
C Vasant Kumar lbw b Salisbury 46
P Pathak not out 37
P Yagik not out 1
Extras (lb4 w1 nb3) 8
Total (for 2, 36 overs) 96
Fall: 1-26 2-69
To bat: *M Mewada, A Takle, A Tandon, D Pawar, N Singh, M Bali, P Khole.
Bowling (to date): Chapple 4-1-13-1; Johnson 9-4-32-0; Gallian 8-2-15-0; Salisbury 8-3-23-1; Patel 7-4-9-0.
Umpires: B A Jamula and K A Parthasarathy.Reuse content