Some sighted the ball well. Some did not. In the end the team that adapted better and faster won the honours. In this case, it was India Red, which had the bowlers to slice through India Green. The winning margin was 219 runs and that told the story of the difference between the teams in the Duleep Trophy league match at the Shaheed Vijay Singh Pathik Sports Complex here on Friday. The victory fetched India Red six points.
India Red’s win was a foregone conclusion when India Green resumed at 217 in pursuit of an improbable target of 497. Suresh Raina walked out with Ashok Dinda knowing well it was a matter of time before the contest ended. It took India Red 10.2 overs in which the losing team added 60 runs — Raina accounted for 48 before he fell 10 runs short of a century.
For India Red the star was left-arm 'chinaman' Kuldeep Yadav, who finished with a six-wicket strike to finish the match with nine wickets. The players had come here with an open mind and returned with mixed feelings.
Abhinav Mukund, the Man of the Match with knocks of 77 and 169, had no issues in sighting the ball.
Another centurion, Gurkeerat Mann, confessed, “For me initially it was. You could see most of the batsmen except (Abhinav) Mukund struggled in the first innings. Slowly we were able to sight the ball. It is about getting used to the ball. If we give it sometime and practice a bit more with the pink ball and at night also then maybe sighting won’t be a problem.”
India Green wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel shared his experience of the pink-ball game. “It was good. We all came with preconceived thought that there will be lot of movement around but it didn’t move as much as we thought. It was good to be playing the first pink-ball game and be part of history. The conditions were really good. It was an ideal four-day pitch where it would turn a bit, swing and was good to bat on.”
Patel, who had no problems in sighting the ball, observed, “It’s a matter of getting used to it but visibility was not a problem. There is future for the pink ball but dew could be a factor. With the gloss on the pink ball there won’t be much chance of reverse swing though. Maybe if we play on a drier pitch and drier outfield we might get the ball to reverse.”
But Patel was not supportive of such a surface for Test cricket in the sub-continent. “In sub-continent conditions I don’t think an international game would be played with this much of grass on the pitch. I have been seeing Test cricket for quite a few years and I don’t remember it being played on a green top in home conditions. Ideally we shouldn’t be playing on green top pitches. There is definitely home advantage and we should be taking it. That’s how it should be.”
Abhinav Mukund, who was named Man-of-the-match for his 77 and 169, said he didn't have any issues with sighting the ball throughout the game. "I think a lot of people had issues sighting the ball, but I didn't have any issues with visibility.”
In the next match, starting on August 29, India Red will meet India Blue.
India Red — 1st innings: 161
India Green — 1st innings: 151
India Red — 2nd innings: 486
India Green — 2nd innings: Robin Uthappa c Yuvraj b Yadav 72 (66b, 10x4, 1x6), Jalaj Saxena b Pandey 26 (26b, 6x4), Parthiv Patel lbw b Yadav 21 (66b, 4x4), Rajat Paliwal lbw b Yadav 0 (2b), Suresh Raina c Nathu b Yadav 90 (101b, 11x4,3x6), Saurabh Tiwary lbw b Yadav 31 (51b, 4x4), Shreyas Gopal c Bharat b Anureet 3 (12b), Sandeep Sharma b Yadav 0 (1b), Ashok Dinda c Pandey b Nathu 10(8b, 2x4), Pragyan Ojha c Mukund b Wakhare 7 (13b, 1x4), Ankit Rajpoot (not out) 0 (0b), Extras (lb-9, nb-8) 17, Total (in 56.2 overs) 277.
Fall of wickets: 1-66 (Saxena), 2-122 (Uthappa), 3-122 (Paliwal), 4- 131 (Patel), 5-185 (Tiwary), 6-198 (Gopal), 7-199 (Sandeep), 8-239 (Dinda), 9-275 (Raina).
India Red bowling: Anureet Singh 10-2-46-1 (nb-2), Nathu Singh 10-1-64-1 (nb-5), Akshay Wakhare 7.2-0-30-1, Ishwar Pandey 10-2-34-1 (nb-1), Kuldeep Yadav 18-1-88-6, Gurkeerat Mann 1-0-6-0.
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