Duleep Trophy: Akshath's sublime ton puts India Green in command

Akshath's 15th first-class hundred, and his 137-run stand for the third wicket with Siddhesh Lad, helped lay the foundation for a massive total after Green had won the toss and elected to bat first.

India Green opener Akshath Reddy, who scored 146 against India Red at the Alur grounds on Thursday.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

An assured 146 by opener Akshath Reddy put India Green in a commanding position on the opening day of its Duleep Trophy clash against India Red.

Akshath's 15th first-class hundred, and his 137-run stand for the third wicket with Siddhesh Lad, helped lay the foundation for a massive total after Green had won the toss and elected to bat first.

At stumps at the Alur grounds on Thursday, Green was 308 for four, with Priyam Garg and Akshay Wadkar at the crease.

Duleep Trophy | As it Happened

Akshath fell in the final half-hour of the day's play, caught on the mid-wicket boundary slog-sweeping Akshay Wakhare. It brought to an end his 248-ball effort, after he had firmly blunted the Red attack all day.

"I missed an opportunity there," he said later. "There were only six overs left. I wanted to keep the shot down but the ball was too full and it went up."

Akshath had only ever looked in trouble in the morning, when Jaydev Unadkat, Sandeep Warrier and Avesh Khan had beaten the bat several times during a testing first hour.

Calm and Steady Approach

He dropped anchor thereafter, and was not distracted even by the multiple stoppages to get the ball changed. The last domestic season was Akshath's most productive yet, when the Hyderabad captain amassed 797 runs in the Ranji Trophy, at an average of 54.4.

The 28-year-old picked up from where he had left off in that campaign. He took no risks against the pace bowlers and raised a steady half-century off 90 balls.

Akshath was more expansive against spin, charging down the pitch to Aditya Sarwate and lofting him over the cover fielder for four.

Sarwate was later neatly dispatched over the sight-screen, as so was part-timer Mahipal Lomror. Akshath completed his hundred (off 174 balls) with a boundary off Sarwate, stepping out to the left-arm spinner before drilling him through mid-wicket.

At the other end, fellow opener Faiz Fazal had fallen for 18, caught at fine-leg pulling Khan. Dhruv Shorey made 44 before edging the Madhya Pradesh paceman behind, shortly after lunch.

Lad looked confident during his 64, which included two huge sixes, one of which landed outside the compound. The Mumbai batsman eventually perished attempting another big shot.

India Green clearly had a plan against Wakhare and Sarwate, not wanting either spinner to settle. The two bowlers toiled hard, the former finishing with two for 78 from his 23 overs and the latter going wicketless from his 25. They could be in for another long day under the sun.

The scores: India Green 308 for four in 90 overs (Akshath Reddy 146, Siddesh Lad 64, Dhruv Shorey 44, Priyam Garg 30 batting, Avesh Khan two for 35, Akshay Wakhare two for 78) vs. India Red.