Duleep Trophy: India Red rides on Ankit Kalsi ton

Himachal Pradesh batsman Kalsi (106 off 345 balls) displayed tremendous patience and temperament during the course of his 466-minute vigil at the crease.

Ankit Kalsi presented a dead, straight bat to anything on the stumps, and carefully drove the overpitched stuff all along the ground.   -  FILE PHOTO/ AKHILESH KUMAR

A marathon knock from Ankit Kalsi (106, 345b, 8x4) kept India Red afloat on the second day of its Duleep Trophy encounter against India Blue at the Alur ground here on Saturday.

India Red, on the back of Kalsi’s century and a 77-ball 50 from Ishan Kishan, made 285 in its first essay. In reply, India Blue moved to 74 for three.

Kalsi displayed tremendous patience and temperament during the course of his 466-minute vigil at the crease. The southpaw presented a dead, straight bat to anything on the stumps, and carefully drove the overpitched stuff all along the ground.

The Himachal Pradesh batsman was in danger of missing his hundred, when he was left with only last man Avesh Khan for company. A thick inside edge off pacer Diwesh Pathania, however, gave Kalsi the three runs needed to reach the three-figure mark.

Duleep Trophy 2019| As it happened

The 25-year-old, who had racked up runs in the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy season, was the last man to go, edging one from off-spinner Jalaj Saxena to Ruturaj Gaikwad. Gaikwad had given Kalsi a reprieve on 34, when he put down a regulation chance at slip.

Karun Nair, on 92 overnight, fell one run short of what would have been his maiden first-class century in two years. Left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar drew Karun out of his crease, and wicketkeeper Snell Patel whipped off the bails to get him stumped.

Services speedster Pathania (four for 55) and Saxena (three for 57) starred for India Blue. Pathania brought the game to life in the afternoon session, when he took out the dangerous Kishan and Axar Patel (0) off successive balls. While Kishan’s entertaining fifty ended with a lazy waft outside off, Axar lost his stumps to an inswinging beauty.

Saxena toiled hard, keeping a tight line and length. His pace variations troubled the batsmen no end, and was unlucky to have not gotten a better return.

India Blue did not have a good time with the bat as left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat dismissed Snell Patel (0) and Shubman Gill (9) cheaply. Gaikwad made a fluent 37, before fast bowler Avesh managed to induce a nick late in the day.

Play was affected by intermittent showers, which caused a couple of short delays. The ground, equipped with a good drainage system, coped well. The action was extended till 6 p.m. to make up for the lost time.

The score:

India Red 285 in 124 overs (Ankit Kalsi 106, Karun Nair 99, Ishan Kishan 50, Diwesh Pathania four for 55, Jalaj Saxena three for 57) vs India Blue 74 for three in 24 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 37).