India Red rode on Akshay Wakhare’s five-wicket haul to secure an innings and 38-run victory over India Green and claim the 2019-20 Duleep Trophy at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday.
After securing a 157-run first innings lead, India Red deflated the opposition batting for 119 with pacer Avesh Khan toppling the top-order and Wakhare doing the rest.
It was a clinical performance from India Red who dominated all four days of the game with both bat and the ball.
Siddhesh Lad was the lone batsman to show any semblance of resistance in the second innings despite being in discomfort after being hit on the helmet by a Jaydev Unadkat bouncer.
With the pitch seeing a bit of wear and tear, the odd balls kept low and helped the bowlers. The start of the day’s play saw India Green utilising the conditions well to clean up the lower order.
The last four wickets lasted an hour. First, a quick-reflex stumping of Aditya Sarwate by keeper Akshay Wadkar. Soon after, Jadeja got a lbw decision in his favour against Wakhare.
Both Avesh Khan and Jaydev Unadkat did their best to add on to the team’s first innings lead before the hardworking Tanveerul-Haq sent Khan packing with the ball clipping the bails before carrying to the keeper.
Funnily, Wadkar didn’t notice the bails falling and appealed for a caught behind, evoking a chuckle from his team-mates.
Sandeep Warrier, the last man in, patiently held fort for 20 balls. His defensive stance against part-time spinner Dhruv Shorey backfired as the ball caught the edge of his bat and flew to first slip Akshath Reddy who safely pouched to bring down the curtain to the innings.
For the second successive day, lead spinner Mayank Markande couldn’t take the field, forcing India Green to look for a second spinner in Dhruv Shorey to give Dharmendrasinh Jadeja company.
The off-break bowler did justice to the job, finishing with 1-12 in seven overs.
Already down by a man due to Mayank’s glute injury, India Green began its second innings cautiously. Jaydev Unadkat, who remained unbeaten on 30 in Red’s first innings, opened the bowling.
He bowled a tight line and kept the pressure on the batsmen, Faiz Fazal the first to blink by edging to keeper Ishan Kishan.
The first-wicket partnership contributed an edgy 29 runs. Dhruv Shorey fell soon after, offering a simple caught behind in Avesh Khan’s second over. By lunch on Day 4, six wickets had fallen.
Akshath Reddy, who was batting on 19, began the second session positively and went for his shots, but fell to a brilliant ball from Avesh Khan that straightened up after pitching. Playing the line, Akshath completely missed it and saw the stumps disarranged.
With the pitch starting to show cracks and offering uneven bounce, India Red brought in Wakhare early for the second innings and that turned out to be the beginning of the end of India Green.
India Green skipper Faiz Fazal admitted his team was outplayed. “It was a disappointing performance from us. They were really clinical, they bowled really well. We should have batted better,” he said.
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