Duleep Trophy: Lomror, Avesh keep Red in hunt for lead

A defiant 126 from Mahipal Lomror and some spectacular late hitting by Avesh Khan frustrated India Green as it pushed for the first-innings lead over India Red on the third day of its Duleep Trophy clash.

Karun Nair played a knock of 90.   -  FILE PHOTO/ SUDHAKARA JAIN

A defiant 126 (272b, 14x4, 3x6) from Mahipal Lomror and some spectacular late hitting by Avesh Khan frustrated India Green as it pushed for the first-innings lead over India Red on the third day of their Duleep Trophy clash here.

At stumps at the Alur grounds on Saturday, Red was 404 for nine, 36 runs behind Green’s total. Three points from this fixture, which is almost certain to end in a draw on the fourth day, would guarantee Green a spot in the final against Red.

Other plans

When the ninth Red wicket fell for 368 on the board, the end of the innings seemed near. But Avesh had other plans. The Madhya Pradesh fast bowler clubbed five mammoth sixes off Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, including four off one over. Two balls landed outside the compound and were lost.

Avesh was on 31 off eight balls at one point; a measure of calm returned to his batting thereafter and he walked back unbeaten on 34 (18b). The last-wicket pair of Avesh and Sandeep Warrier walked back, having added 36 runs (33b).

Drab batting

In the morning, the runs slowed to a crawl, India Red pottering along at two an over during the first hour of play. Karun Nair looked ill-at-ease against Rahul Chahar, who sent down 24 balls to him for only three runs. Karun was stuck on 89 for 12 balls until he finally added a run. But he fell for 90, dragging Ankit Rajpoot onto the stumps. The Karnataka man had been dismissed for 99 in the first innings of the previous game; he will be disappointed to have missed out on another century.

Lomror stood firm even as his partners departed. The 19-year-old from Rajasthan looked composed at the crease, having shelved his naturally attacking style for the day. “I’m prepared for every situation; I was just trying to play according to the demands of the team, the match and the pitch,” he said. Last season was the young left-hander’s best in the Ranji Trophy, as he amassed 708 runs. He has made a good beginning to the new season here.

Unadkat batted sensibly with Lomror, as the pair added 66 runs for the seventh wicket. Red looked on course to claim the first-innings lead at that stage until Jadeja broke through. Lomror played down the wrong line to a delivery from the left-armer and was caught at slip. Unadkat went minutes later, caught at gully off the same bowler. Red lost three wickets for five runs, and Green looked set for the lead. And then Avesh walked in.

The scores: India Green 440 vs. India Red 404 for nine in 135 overs (Mahipal Lomror 126, Priyank Panchal 31, Karun Nair 90, K.S. Bharat 38, J. Unadkat 30, Avesh Khan 34 batting, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja four for 125).