Duleep Trophy UPDATES: India Red vs India Blue - Day 3

Periodic updates from Day Three of the Duleep Trophy final between India Red and India Blue, being played in Dindigul.

India Blue's N.R.Gangta plays a shot against India Red team during the Duleep Trophy cricket match at NPR College ground, Natham, Dindigul district on Wednesday.   -  B. Jothi Ramalingam

Good afternoon, welcome to Sportstar's live blog of the 3rd day of the Duleep Trophy final between defending champion India Red and India Blue.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How long will it take India Blue to complete the formalities on Day Four? Judging by Thursday's performance, it wouldn't be too long. It was a day dominated by the spinners of India Blue, and in particular, Swapnil Singh, who tested the batsmen enough to induce mistakes from them. The left-arm spinner took five for 58, breaking the back of India Red's batting line-up.

Barring a confident first-wicket partnership, it was much of the same when India Red followed on. On a wearing pitch, even part-time spinner Deepak Hooda proved a handful. The off-spinner took two back-to-back wickets, and three others were claimed by left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar.

The fourth-day pitch will also be a minefield, but regardless of the pitch, the contest is already seemingly well and truly over.

Stay tuned for the live coverage of Day Four. Till then, it's goodbye.

8:50 PM: Bruised and battered, but without any further loss of wickets, India Red manages to end the day. Chatterjee survives a leg-before-wicket shout, and Kishan strikes a boundary via a shaky stroke, in the last two overs.

At the end of Day Three, India Red is 128 for 5, needing another 231 runs to make its opponent bat again. The sixth wicket partnership is worth 27.

8:42 PM: Just when the batsmen seemed to be finding some momentum, Sandeep decides to come down the track to Saurabh and deposit the ball to the moon. Instead, he gets an edge which is caught by the wicketkeeper. Half the side is back in the pavilion.

Sandeep departs for 22 (14b, 4X4). India Red 101 for 5. Writtik Chatterjee and Ishan Kishan at the crease.

8:40 PM: Yet another appeal from Patel; again, to no avail. The batsmen are intent on working the ball in the gaps to collect some runs.

8:34 PM: Some more excitement from Smit Patel from behind the stumps. But again, it's a false alarm as the umpire impatiently shakes his head after a caught-behind appeal.

Bavanaka and Kishan decide to be positive, and punish the wayward deliveries. They collect two boundaries to give India Red some respite.

8:20 PM: Hooda joins the party, making a big dent on India Red. He takes two wickets off two deliveries, first inducing a nick off No. 3 Ashutosh for the leg slip to pouch, and then getting a delivery to skid through new man Siddhesh Lad's defenses. Lad is out for a golden duck.

The hat-trick ball was anti-climactic: It was half-tracker duly punished - pulled for four - by the new batsman Ishan Kishan.

The pressure is well and truly back on the batting side. India Red 76 for 4.

8:11 PM: Saurabh makes the ball talk, and it's suddenly a different ball game. A delivery from the left-arm spinner pitches on the rough outside off - the ball is well outside the off-stump - and spins so sharply that it travels past the batsman to the leg side, where Patel jumps and collects the ball. Abhinav's response? An aggressive sweep off a delivery that pitches in the same area.

His partner, though, who comes on strike, attempts to unsettle the bowler by dancing down the wicket. The shot is awkward and ungainly, fetching him a single.

For all of this, Saurabh finally has his reward. Abhinav misses his sweep shot and is stumped. Both openers gone now. India Red 60 for 2 after 16 overs; Abhinav departs for 46 (55b, 9X4).

8:06 PM: Only 10 runs are added in the last five overs. The spinners have been able to put the brakes on the scoring.

8:04 PM: It's the turn of the hour, and a change in the script. Saurabh bowls full, has the batsman - Sanjay - come down the track to get to the pitch of the ball; the ball turns and evades Sanjay, who is stranded and duly stumped. Why come down the track in the first place? Was it casual?

The scalp gives India Blue something to cheer about as the drinks are called. Sanjay departs for 11 (42b, 1X4); India Red 55 for 1.

8:00: Spinners from both ends now - Hooda and the left-arm spinner Saurabh. The openers are able to negotiate them well - both look well set. Abhinav collects another boundary - he cuts a short and wide ball from Hooda to the third man fence.

7:48 PM: Patel is excited again, but this time, no one from his side is. A short delivery from Kulkarni brushes the shirt of the ducking batsman - Sanjay - on its way to the wicketkeeper. No damage done. The overall run-rate slows a bit in the last couple of overs, but at the end of 10 overs, India Red has a semblance of a start at 46 for 0 - some resistance, finally.

7:42 PM: Kulkarni bowls full outside off, and Abhinav pounces on another opportunity to ensure a boundary, this time through extra cover. The ball was well outside off, and Abhinav executes a smooth drive.

7:38 PM: Time for a spinner. Deepak Hooda bowls his off-spinners, in what is a relatively smooth over. Hooda exclaims when Abhinav plays a cut from the middle stump, but the batsman seemed in control.

7:33 PM: A short delivery from Unadkat, outside off, and Abhinav jumps on it, playing a full-blooded cut over the gully fielder's head. Another boundary for the batsman, who moves to 31. The run-rate is six now; it's 36 for 0 off six overs.

7:26 PM: Smit Patel, behind the wicket, jumps excitedly for a possible caught behind. The umpire rules in Abhinav Mukund's favour, but was there an edge?

It was an accurate, good-length delivery from around the stumps to the left-hander. Abhinav was squared up by Kulkarni and he nearly edged behind.

7:17 PM: Sanjay Ramaswamy, the other opener, joins the party. He plays a cover drive off Dhawal Kulkarni. In the next over, Abhinav greets Unadkat with another boundary - this time, a pull through midwicket. After four overs, it's 21 for 0.

7:14 PM: Abhinav Mukund gently caresses a delivery from Unadkat through the covers for a boundary to get India Red off the mark. He has another boundary to his name, but this was a completely different scenario. He edges Unadkat to the region between gully and slips - it evades Anmolpreet's diving effort to gather the catch, and trickles to the boundary.

Abhinav is undeterred, though, as off the next ball, he executes a serene straight drive. Three in a row.

6:50 PM: Another slog sweep attempted by Rasool, and this time, he perishes. Rasool's belligerence was a double-edged sword, and his entertaining innings came to an end due to his same attacking spirit. He misjudges Hooda's delivery; the ball sneaks through to disturb the furniture. India Red is bowled out for 182.

India Blue has enforced the follow-on. India Red is 359 runs behind.

6:45 PM: To celebrate his reprieve, Rasool steps down the track to deposit the ball straight, down the ground, for six. It was a clean strike.

6:40 PM: The final session begins, and without much ado, Blue claims two quick wickets. Smit Patel, the wicketkeeper, dislodges the bails after Rasool fails to get bat on ball off an attempted slog sweep off Deepak Hooda. Rasool's foot was on the line, but the third umpire rules him not-out.

A couple of overs earlier, Krishna, the No. 10, perished for 25 (24b, 1X3, 3X6), holing out to Nikhil Gangta at long-on.

6:03 PM: It's dinner, then, a meal India Blue - and in particular, Swapnil - will have in satisfaction. Five wickets are claimed in the session, a period of play that consolidates Blue's advantage. A little more tightening of the noose, and Blue will have its hands on the trophy. India Red 170 for 8, trailing by 371 runs.

Here's our correspondent, Hari Kishore M, from Dindigul:

A productive second session for India Blue. Swapnil Singh gave the India Red batsmen a lesson on how to play spin bowling as he registered figures of 5 for 58 in 22 overs to reduce India Red to 170 for 8 in 65 overs.

This contest is no more alive for India Red. Swapnil bowled in the right areas, tossed it up well and induced the batsmen to make mistakes and some good fielding, especially the close-in fielders, did a good job of holding on to the chances. A mammoth first-innings lead beckons India Blue now and it has one hand on the Duleep Trophy now. Blue will now love to wrap it up as quickly as possible, enforce the follow-on and take a couple of wickets to catalyse the end.

5:56 PM: Unadkat bowls yet another probing over, this time to Rasool, who decides not to take a run at the start of the over, shielding the No. 10 Prasidh Krishna. Krishna himself is up to the task, though, by surviving an over from Swapnil in the presence of a number of close-in fielders breathing down his neck.

5:46 PM: Bowling round the wicket, Unadkat squares up the batsman repeatedly but has no success. He can only smile at the end of the over. Unadkat is wicketless in 10 overs.

5:37 PM: Swapnil has his fifth, in bizarre fashion. Hirwani firmly plays shortish delivery down on to the leg side. The ball ricochets off the short leg fielder's leg, and floats towards the wicketkeeper, who pouches it. Swapnil finally has a smile. India Red 144 for 8.

5:34 PM: Unadkat, back into the attack, bowls a probing over. Hirwani has no problems negotiating the bowler, though.

5:24 PM: Rasool continues to play entertaining strokes. One of them is a four through the off-side off Saurabh - Rasool steps down the track to play the belligerent, inside-out stroke. He collects another brace off another heave through the off-side.

5:17 PM: Rasool brings the catatonia to an end, loosens up with a number of aerial strokes. A couple of them are ungainly, but these are stray runs that perhaps don't signify much. For he is likely to die by the sword as well. But what's there to lose anyway?

5:07 PM: End of the break, and perhaps a lapse in concentration? Swapnil gets the well-set Chatterjee to edge a good-length delivery to Deepak Hooda at slip. Hooda jumps to his left to pouch the catch. Having got his fourth wicket of the innings, Swapnil is somehow angry and confrontational. The team's situation is anything to be stressed about, however, as India Blue is three wickets away from enforcing the follow-on. A first-innings can anyway signal the end of the contest.

Chatterjee departs for 19 (44b, 4X4). India Red 125 for 7. It is a no-contest now.

5:00 PM: Three close-in fielders on the off-side to spinners Swapnil and Saurabh Kumar. Parvez Rasool, the No. 8 batsman, smiles and lofts Saurabh for a boundary through mid-off. Umpires call for drinks.

4:50 PM: The unspooling continues. Assured though he looked at the crease, Lad adds to the list of soft dismissals by the India Red batsmen when he chips Swapnil's delivery back to the bowler. Some drama ensues when Swapnil's front foot is close to a no-ball; the third umpire takes time, but deems his foot was within the popping crease by a hair's breadth. Red six down.

4:42 PM: Excitement from the slip cordon after Chatterjee's attempted pull stroke off Kulkarni. Chatterjee was early on to the stroke - it was a slower bouncer from Kulkarni - and the ball struck his shoulder and travelled to the second slip.

4:34 PM: 100 up for India Blue now. Operating in the dour defence mode, Lad switches gears for a delivery, executing a cover drive for a boundary. The pitch seems benign, as these two new batsmen seem to have taken little time in being in control.

4:23 PM: Lad and Chatterjee are assured in defence against Kulkarni and Swapnil. Kulkarni seems to be trying to obtain reverse swing, but the swing, if there is any, is minimal.

4:16 PM: Writtick Chatterjee, the No. 7, is more decisive against the spinner. He firmly blocks all the deliveries of the over off the front foot.

4:05 PM: It seems it's all going downhill now. Minutes into the session, after a sweetly struck boundary through extra cover, Sandeep falls prey to a tentative prod that takes his inside edge and balloons to the leg slip.

What's more, Ishan Kishan, the new man, gloves a delivery down to the leg side in the same over, and promptly departs for a duck.  India Red is five down now, for 93, trailing by 448. The left-arm spinner Swapnil Singh has two wickets in the over. His analysis reads - 9 (overs) - 4 (maidens) - 11 (runs) - 2 (wickets).

4:01 PM: B. Sandeep, who is batting on 53, will be expected to shoulder the responsibility of avoiding the quick unravelling of India Red. He has Lad for company, a player known to knuckle down when the going gets tough. Welcome to the second session of the Duleep Trophy final; the crucial third day's play will tell us where the contest is decisively headed. India Red trails by 452 runs.

3:30 PM: The first session ends at Natham, Dindigul, a phase of play clearly dominated by India Blue. Having lost Sanjay Ramaswamy and Ashutosh Singh (to a needless run out), India Red stares at a mountainous task ahead to avoid follow-on.

Here's our correspondent, Hari Kishore M:

India Blue has the advantage going into the first break. After Jaydev Unadkat removed Sanjay Ramaswamy, B. Sandeep and Ashutosh Singh staged a minor recovery act with a 38-run partnership in 107 balls, and then, a Ricky Bhui masterclass saw Ashutosh short of the crease. Both Ashutosh and Sandeep looked comfortable against pace and spin. Although there were half chances created when the slower bowlers were bowling, there wasn't a huge threat of a wicket looming.

A run-out or a wicket against the run of play was the only way to break the partnership, and that is what happened. It is now upto Siddesh Lad and Sandeep to stage another recovery act. At the end of the first session, India Red is 89 for 3 in 37 overs, trailing by 452 runs. Stay tuned for a riveting second session.

3:21 PM: A misjudged attempt at a single, and Ashutosh Singh is run out! He taps the ball off the back foot to the cover fielder Ricky Bhui, who throws accurately at the non-strikers' end to get him out. 'Crisis man' Siddhesh Lad is the new man in. India Red 84 for 3.

3:15 PM: A lot of half chances, but the batsmen are holding on and no damage has been done in the last one hour.

3:00 PM: Left-arm spinner Sourabh Kumar has been brought back into the attack and Bhavanaka Sandeep welcomes him with an effortless six over long on.  Looks like captain Faiz Fazal has got the message across. He has now decided to go with spinners from both ends to break the partnership.

 

02:34 PM: Dangerously close! Ashutosh survives a scare as Swapnil's delivery just misses off stump.  India Red trails by 478 runs. Meanwhile, Lad is all padded up.

02:00 PM: WICKET| Kulkarni traps Ramaswamy in front of the stumps. Brilliant delivery by the Mumbai pacer. Ramaswamy goes for 18 (41) 4s 4

Kulkarni, maintaining an impressive economy of 2.88, is a different bowler this morning.

Ashutosh Singh is the new batsman.

01: 32 PM: That's a boundary off the second ball. Bavanaka wanted to go for the covers but a thick outside edge saw the pink ball taking the route between gully and point.

01:28 PM: The players are out on to the field. Bavanaka Sandeep, who is batting at 11, will face right arm medium pacer, Dhawal Kulkarni. Ramaswamy Sanjay at the non-strikers' end on 9. Score: India Red- 27/1.

 

01:19 PM: The players are in all readiness, inside the dressing rooms. The sun is beating down, an energy sapping third day on the cards today. India Red has a lot of work to do, trailing by 514 runs. They haven’t had the start they would have loved, skipper Abhinav Mukund back in the hut, having no clue to a delightful inswinger from Dhawal Kulkarni. India Blue would love to extend its domination on day three, with the ball this time, and as any Test lover or crictic would say, we are in for the most important day in this match.

01:05 PM: Nikhil Gangta masterfully crafted a century to guide India Blue to a position of immense strength and he dedicated the century to his coach, Vikram Rathour — REPORT

 

01:00 PM: Can India Red's batsmen take a cue from their opponents and make hay today?

It was a relatively one-sided day in Dindigul yesterday, a day of graft by India Blue's batsmen and of hard slog by India red's bowlers, especially the spinners Mihir Hirwani and Parvez Rasool. Here a report of Day 2's proceedings from Natham, Dindigul.

Gangta scored his sixth first-class century, shepherding the tail to take his side to 541. Others in the line-up contributed as well - Anmolpreet Singh fell four short of a century, Ricky Bhui scored 60 and Swapnil Singh scored 69. Lower-order batsmen Saurabh Kumar and Jaydev Unadkat also chipped in.

Rasool ended up the highest wicket-taker in the innings, but after having bowled 53.3 overs and giving away 150 runs. Hirwani, who took three, was even more expensive - 190 runs off 57 overs.