India Green opted to bat first in overcast conditions and paid the price as India Red pacers dictated play on Day 1 of the Duleep Trophy Final at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday. India Green was stuttering at 147/8 at stumps, with wickets falling at regular intervals even as rain intervened at a similar frequency.
Jaydev Unadkat was the pick of the bowlers and finished the day with four for 58. Of the 49 overs of play possible, pacers bowled 43 of them. Aditya Sarvate was the only spinner deployed to give pacers the rotational breaks.
Unadkat, who kept teasing the batsmen with a nagging length right from the first ball of the innings, was first rewarded at the half-hour mark with an lbw of India Green captain Faiz Fazal, who fell for 12 runs. The first-wicket partnership lasted 19 runs.
The second-wicket partnership lasted a little longer -- 34 runs -- before Warrier induced an edge from Dhruv Shorey to wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan. Shorey, who was the only batsman who looked at ease against the pacers, departed for 23. It turned out to be the second longest partnership for India Green as Sandeep Warrier and Avesh Khan complemented Unadkat’s tight bowling and kept the opposition batsmen on a leash. The unbroken ninth-wicket partnership of 35 between Mayank Markande and Tanveer ul-Haq, in fact, was the highest for India Green.
Siddhesh Lad fell for a first-ball duck to Unadkat, offering a catch at short cover to India Red skipper Priyank Panchal. Akshath Reddy was forced to walk back after the non-striker Akshdeep Nath failed to heed to his call for a single. Avesh Khan had no trouble sending the ball to ‘keeper Ishan who casually flicked the bails off.
Bengaluru weather, too, was at its temperamental best. Moving clouds meant it drizzled for a minute, rained for half a minute followed by periods of grey overcast skies that allowed play. It often felt like the groundsmen had the longest stay in the middle of the field. There were two rain interruptions before lunch and an extended break before the start of the second session -- the groundsmen had to cover the pitch and the inner circle at least a half a dozen times throughout the day.
When the play finally resumed around 1.45pm, Jaydev Unadkat and Avesh Khan were back in full steam. Leg-spinner Sarwate, however, was the first to pick a wicket post lunch. Trying to loft over long on, Akshdeep Nath offered a simple catch to captain Priyank Panchal at mid-wicket. The lower order walked back in quick succession, but Mayank Markande, walking in at No. 8, held fort with No. 10 Tanveer ul-Haq till Tea.
The Tea break was again an extended session, thanks to the unpredictable weather fluctuations and more play seemed unlikely. Between 4.15pm and 4:30pm, dark clouds gave way to bright sunshine and 21 overs was ambitiously decided to be played until 6pm. But then, by 5pm, the skies darkened again. Play was officially called off at 5.21 pm. Mayank was the highest scorer for India Green with an unbeaten 32 and will continue his rearguard duty with Tanveer on Thursday. The play will resume at 9.30 but will continue till 5 pm if the weather stays clear.
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