Abhimanyu Easwaran brought quality to the contest with an innings of grit and discipline that saved India Blue from annihilation on the second day of the Duleep Trophy final against India Red at the Ekana Stadium here on Tuesday.
Abhimanyu’s unbeaten 87 (123 balls and 10 fours) thwarted India Red’s attempt to run away with the day’s honours. Cricket was drudgery for most part of the day as India Red and India Blue looked to establish first-innings supremacy.
India Red, resuming at 317 for five, added 166 runs in 43.5 overs. At close, India Blue was 181 for five, still needing 103 runs to avoid the follow-on. Its hopes rest on Abhimanyu, who displayed the character to give his side a chance to stay in the game after India Red thrived on Washington Sundar’s 88 in the first half of the day.
The faithful fans of domestic cricket were treated to some entertainment whenever Washington came on strike for India Red. He fell short of a hundred by 12 runs but not before slamming six fours and five sixes.
Washington’s run-scoring prowess arises from his wide range of shots and his fearless approach to exploit the field gives him a good advantage. It was Washington’s charge that gave India Red the upper hand. India Blue responded strongly with opener Abhimanyu refusing to shed his attacking instincts. His footwork and stoic defence saw him dominate the attack.
India Red -1st innings: Prithvi Shaw c Bharath b Bhatt 154, Akhil Herwadkar (run out) 25, Surya Kumar Yadav c Raina b Bhatt 8, Dinesh Karthik lbw b Wakhare 111, B. Indrajith c Kishan b Bhatt 4, Ishank Jaggi c Bharat b Pankaj 47, Washington Sundar c Bhatt b Wakhare 88, Vijay Gohil c Kishan b Wakhare 29, Siddharth Kaul c Bharat b Unadkat 6, Ashok Dinda c Kishan b Bhatt 0, Basil Thampi (not out) 17, Extras (lb-9, nb-2) 11, Total (in 127.2 overs) 483.
Fall of wickets : 1-74, 2-89, 3-300, 4-306, 5-317, 6-354, 7-402, 8-439, 9-440.
India Blue bowling: Ishant Sharma 14-2-62-0, Pankaj Singh 15-0-53-1, Akshay Wakhare 28.2-0-95-3, Bhargav Bhatt 42-4-154-4, Suresh Raina 7-0-27-0, Jaydev Unadkat 12-0-55-1, Deepak Hooda 7-1-21-0, Manoj Tiwary 2-1-7-0.
India Blue -1st innings: Abhimanyu Easwaran (batting) 87, K. S. Bharat b Gohil 8, Manoj Tiwary c Karthik b Gohil 25, Suresh Raina st Karthik b Sundar 1, Deepak Hooda c Kaul b Gohil 12, Ishaan Kishan lbw b Sundar 0, Jaydev Unadkat (batting) 27, Extras (b-9, lb-7, pen 5) 21, Total (for five wkts in 45 overs) 181.
Fall of wickets : 1-51, 2-93, 3-94, 4-121, 5-123
India Red bowling: Gohil 21-2-65-3, Kaul 3-0-10-0, Washington 15-1-55-2, Herwadkar 3-0-22-0, Thampi 2-0-3-0, Dinda 1-0-5-0.
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