Opener Aakash Chopra hit his 17th first class hundred and first for the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) against a strong Sri Lanka A attack in a three-day game at the Arundel Castle Cricket ground in Sussex on Thursday.
Chopra, who was not picked for the India A squad for the twin tour of Zimbabwe and Kenya (the selectors had adopted a selective under 25 policy), made a statement of sorts with the hundred in not so easy conditions, after falling for only 7 earlier in the Craig McMillan-led MCC's first innings collapse.
It had rained all of Wednesday night, was cloudy through Thursday and the seaming conditions were utilised well by the experienced Lankans, who ran through the other end, ultimately recording a big 10-wicket win after they saw off Chopra, the eighth MCC wicket to fall.
Talking to HT from Arundel, Chopra said later that though he wished he could have helped his team put up a more competitive total, he was "feeling very good at getting a century". "It's very important because it came against a touring side, Sri Lanka A, in seaming conditions. I wanted to make up for the first innings dismissal," he said.
He said that as he had been overlooked for the India A tour of Zimbabwe and Kenya, "it was important to get runs against quality opposition in any first class game" he played.
"I met up with the Indian team at Hove, which is nearby and spoke to Rahul (Dravid) before this game. He told me to just get out there and get runs. I'm glad I did," said Chopra. He is scheduled to play another first-class game for the MCC against Ireland in Dublin from July 31 to August 2, subject to getting the visa in time.
Meanwhile, left-arm spinner Murali Kartik took a five-wicket haul in the second innings but could not resurrect Middlesex's fortunes as they lost to Derbyshire by 15 runs in a four-day county match at Southgate.
Kartik, who took two wickets in the first innings, polished off the tail to return figures of five for 38 off 25.2 overs in the second innings to restrict Derbyshire to 199. Derbyshire, who made 340 in their first essay of the Division Two match, gained an 82-run first innings lead over the hosts.
(With inputs from agencies)