England Lions fell to their first defeat of the A-Team Tri-Series as a dominant India A side ran them out by 102 runs at the Fischer County Ground.
A century from the in-form Mayank Agarwal and fifties from Shubman Gill and Hanuma Vihari saw India A rack up an impressive 309-6; a figure that threatened to be higher at 165-0 before some disciplined bowling looked to have got England back into the game.
However, the Lions never looked close to chasing it down as they were bowled out for 207 in the 42nd over on a pitch that slowed as the game wore on. They lost regular wickets as six batsmen passed 20 but none made more than Liam Dawson’s 38.
The Lions will now look to beat West Indies A on Thursday at the County Ground, Northampton to guarantee a place in the Tri-Series final at the Kia Oval next Monday (July 2).
Earlier on, India A won the toss and opted to bat first on a glorious day in Leicester.
Before play Worcestershire all-rounder Ed Barnard was presented with his Lions cap by England Head Coach Trevor Bayliss. Barnard replaced Topley who was rested as a precaution while Matt Parkinson came into the team for Chris Jordan who joined up with the England side ahead of tomorrow’s Vitality IT20 against Australia.
India A got off to an excellent start, racing to 50 without loss in the 9th over. Eighteen-year-old opener Gill took a liking to Tom Helm, hitting the Middlesex seamer for three boundaries in his first over.
Lions skipper Steven Mullaney made a double change, taking pace off the ball with the introduction of Liam Dawson and Matt Parkinson. Gill waited just two balls before coming down the pitch to hit Dawson back over his head for four and followed it up by launching Parkinson over long on for the first six of the day.
Gill’s fellow opener, Agarwal then looked to get after both bowlers, hitting three sixes in consecutive overs to race to 50. Gill reached his half century in the following over in slightly more sedate style with a single off Dawson as India charged to 130-0 after 20 overs.
Mullaney and debutant Ed Barnard managed to slow the scoring and the squeeze paid dividends as Barnard picked up the well-deserved wicket of Gill for 72. The opener could only find Helm at short third man to end an opening partnership of 165.
Agarwal continued undeterred and reached his hundred from 97 balls after driving the returning Parkinson through Sam Hain at extra cover for two - his third century of what is becoming a prolific tour. He eventually fell chipping Mullaney to Matt Fisher at cover for 112.
Fisher followed that up with his first wicket of the day as Rishab Pant (7) holed out to Kohler-Cadmore at deep midwicket to leave India 217-3.
India A captain Shreyas Iyer came and went for 6 after a leading edge from a Fisher delivery looped to Parkinson at extra cover.
Vihari (69) and Deepak Hooda (33) steered India A past the 300 mark to finish on 309-6. Barnard (2-52) and Fisher (2-58) were the pick of the Lions bowlers while Parkinson showed real quality to come back after some initial rough treatment from the Indian openers.
In reply, Shardul Thakar struck twice in quick succession. Nick Gubbins was trapped leg before for 22 before Tom Kohler-Cadmore (7) was bowled after playing around one. Prasidh Krishna then found a way through Hain as England slipped to 32-3.
Lancashire Captain Liam Livingstone and Ben Foakes put on 43 before the Livingstone was caught in the deep by Krishna for 17 - a steepling catch running around from long on off the bowling of Krunal Pandya; brother of India star Hardik Pandya.
That wicket brought Lions captain Mullaney to crease, who briefly threatened to bring the Lions back into the game. He hit Krishnappa Gowtham for three consecutive boundaries before finding Pandya at point.
The Lions were staring down the barrel and the Surrey keeper Foakes was next to go, run out for 32 after being sent back looking for a quick single.
Dawson and Bernard combined for a 67-run partnership that kept the Lions alive until Dawson (38) picked out long on from Hooda’s first over. Barnard followed shortly after for 30 to end their hopes.
The wickets were shared around the Indian bowlers with Thakur finishing with 3-53.
The win for India A leaves them joint top of the table with the Lions on two wins apiece.June 28:
Lions v West Indies A (County Ground, Northampton) June 29:
India A v West Indies A (County Ground, Northampton) July 2: Final (Kia Oval)