Aparajith and Sanjay in good nick yet again

Lad builds on the platform set up by the two to take India Red to 256 for four in a Duleep Trophy fixture.

Sanjay Ramaswamy plays a shot in Dindigul on Thursday.   -  B. Jothi Ramalingam

India Red’s B. Aparajith and Sanjay Ramaswamy continued from where they left off against India Green (210-run unbeaten stand), stitching together a 116-run partnership for the second wicket on the opening day of the Duleep Trophy match against India Blue on Thursday.

Siddhesh Lad built on the platform, remained unbeaten on 83 to take Red to 256 for four at stumps.

Electing to bat, Red skipper Abhinav Mukund was dismissed off the third ball, trapped by left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat. Sanjay and Aparajith then cashed in on the docile wicket which had little help for the pacers. Runs kept flowing through boundaries especially for Sanjay, as he drove with ease on the off-side.

There were eight boundaries in his first 36 runs. He got to his fifty off just 81 balls with 10 hits to the fence. Post the first half-hour break, Sanjay (on 53) came down the track to Kumar to clear mid-off but was dropped by skipper Faiz Fazal. Aparajith was also slowly inching his way to yet another half-century before he uppishly drove one straight to cover fielder Fazal off Kumar when on 48.

Soon, off-spinner Akshay Wakhare came round the wicket to dismiss Sanjay for 72, Ricky Bhui taking a brilliant catch, diving at first slip.

Lad began by hitting Wakhare for two sixes over long-on and was the aggressor in the partnership with Ashutosh Singh for the fourth wicket.

His best shots of the day came in the 85th over: a backfoot punch through covers off Dhawal Kulkarni followed by a classical on-drive. Ashutosh had to retire hurt after pulling his hamstring.

The scores

India Red: Sanjay Ramaswamy c Bhui b Wakhare 72, Abhinav Mukund lbw Unadkat 0, B. Aparajith c Fazil b Kumar 48, Ashutosh Singh (retd. hurt) 34, Siddhesh Lad (batting) 83, Akshay Wadkar b Ayyappa 15; Extras (nb-3, w-1): 4; Total (for four wkts. in 89.5 overs): 256.

Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-117, 3-123, 4-256.

India Blue bowling: Unadkat 11-4-50-1, Kulkarni 13-2-30-0, Ayyappa 14.5-4-42-1, Saurabh 31-7-68-1, Wakhare 20-3-66-1.