Duleep Trophy: Ashutosh, Hirwani prop up India Red

Ashutosh Singh and Mihir Hirwani scored half-centuries to steer their side to a first-innings total of 337; at stumps on Day Two, India Green was 116 for two.

Ashutosh Singh (in picture) batted with patience to score 80.   -  B. Jothi Ramalingam

Stars may have been missing from the teams on display at the NPR College Ground, but the cricket hasn’t exactly been devoid of lustre.

For the second day — and night — in a row, the Duleep Trophy match between India Red and India Green produced competitive cricket. It is evenly poised too, at the half-way mark. India Green was 116 for two at stumps, riding on an unbeaten 57 from Sudip Chatterjee, who has so far added 81 for the third wicket with B. Indrajith (32 batting). That is in reply to India Red’s first innings score of 337.

On Friday night, India Red coach D. Vasu had reasons to be upset with his batsmen. All of them had got starts on the opening day, but only Ashutosh Singh converted. “We need at least 350 runs on this track,” he had said.

Contrasting styles

Ashutosh and then Mihir Hirwani, lower down the order, nearly obliged him, taking the team near that figure. They did that in contrasting fashions. While Ashutosh’s batting was all about patience, concentration and stamina, Hirwani (61, 137min, 111b, 6x4, 2x6) was more adventurous, without being too reckless, as he went on to complete a maiden first-class fifty. They had a nice partnership too, of 44 for the eighth wicket.

FIRST DAY REPORT - Rajpoot shines for India Green

Hirwani also made India Green pay for the catch Vikas Mishra put down at fine leg off Jalaj Saxena; he was on six then. The Kerala off-spinner could be forgiven if he felt so let down, as he was later hit for a couple of sixes by Hirwani in successive overs. All of that happened after Ashutosh’s long vigil ended in a most unexpected fashion. He played seamer Ashoke Dinda straight to the hands of Mishra at mid-off, with just eight minutes left in the first session.

Rajpoot, Vignesh among the wickets

But the Chattisgarh batsman had done his job, having batted for 385 minutes and faced 256 balls for his 80 (4x4). Scoring his first thousand first-class runs should be satisfying.

Seamer Ankit Rajpoot was the pick of the India Green bowlers. He deserved his four wickets, as he bent his back, extracted bounce and often troubled the batsman. He received good support from Tamil Nadu pacer K. Vignesh, who picked up three wickets.

The scores
  • India Red – Ist Innings: Sanjay Ramaswamy lbw b Rajpoot 37, Abhinav Mukund c Chopra b Rajpoot 34, Baba Aparajith c Indrajith b Vignesh 23, Ashutosh Singh c Mishra b Dinda 80, Writtick Chatterjee lbw b Saxena 22, Akshay Wadkar b Chopra 29, Shahbaz Nadeem c Mann b Rajpoot 17, Rajneesh Gurbani c Chopra b Rajpoot 22, Mihir Hirwani c Parthiv b Vignesh 61, Yarra Prithviraj c Indrajith b Vignesh 6, Ishan Porel (not out) 1, Extras (nb-2, w-3) 5; Total (in 132.5 overs) 337.
  • Fall of wickets: 1-69, 2-80, 3-114, 4-137, 5-198, 6-221, 7-250, 8-294, 9-332.
  • India Green bowling: Ashoke Dinda 11-2-27-1, Ankit Rajpoot 29-7-57-4, K. Vignesh 25.5-1-80-3, Vikas Mishra 29-8-60-0, Jalaj Saxena 27-3-77-1, Prashant Chopra 8-0-36-1.

  • India Green -- Ist Innings: Priyank Panchal c Nadeem b Gurbani 8, Prashant Chopra b Gurbani 19, Sudip Chatterjee (batting) 57, B. Indrajith (batting) 32, Extras 0; Total (for two wkts. in 44 overs): 116.
  • Fall of wickets: 1-12, 2-35.
  • India Red bowling: Rajneesh Gurbani 10-2-43-2, Yarra Prithviraj 6-1-13-0, Shahbaz Nadeem 10-2-20-0, Ishan Porel 6-3-10-0, Mihir Hirwani 8-1-26-0, Writtick Chatterjee 3-0-3-0, B. Aparajith 1-0-1-0.