Duleep Trophy: India Green denied lead after Avesh Khan’s rearguard effort

India Red took a slender lead as its contest against India Green petered out to a draw. The two sides will play each other in the final.

Avesh Khan hogged the limelight with his maiden first class half-century in an incredible rearguard action. (FILE IMAGE)   -  Ranjit Peralamm

India Green entered the final of the Duleep Trophy after finishing second on the table by virtue of a better quotient. Green could take only one point from its drawn encounter with India Red at the Alur grounds here on Sunday, after conceding a one-run lead on first innings.

The outcome left India Blue and Green level on two points, but Green's quotient of 1.197 was superior to Blue's 0.63.

India Red had already booked its spot in the final and will now meet Green in a five-day red-ball game at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium from September 4.

That India Green conceded the lead here was due in no small part to Avesh Khan. The Madhya Pradesh paceman made 64 (56b, 2x4, 7x6) -- his highest first-class score -- as Red's last-wicket pair added 73 runs.

Nearly half of those runs had been scored on the third evening, when Avesh had clubbed five sixes in a stunning onslaught. He would not be dislodged easily on the final morning either. The 22-year-old kept up the entertainment, reverse-sweeping Rahul Chahar for four and thumping two more sixes. He raised his maiden first-class fifty off 45 balls and was eventually dismissed after having guided Red past Green's 440.

"We were the last pair; we just wanted to add as many runs as we could," Avesh said later. "I was just hitting and it was connecting; it was a good feeling."

It was clear, though, that but for a spectacular collapse, Green would not slip below Blue on quotient. Faiz Fazal and Akshath Reddy fell cheaply but Dhruv Shorey remained in control. With a draw the only probable result, play was called off at tea with Green 98 for three.

The scores:

India Green 440 and 98 for three in 54 overs (Dhruv Shorey 44 n.o.) drew with India Red 441 in 145.3 overs (Avesh Khan 64, Mahipal Lomror 126, Karun Nair 90, Priyank Panchal 31, Jaydev Unadkat 30, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja four for 135).

 

- Priyam Garg hit on the neck, rushed to hospital -

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Garg, who was conscious after the hit, was rushed to hospital for precautionary tests.   -  Ranjit Kumar

 

Uttar Pradesh batsman Priyam Garg suffered a blow to the back of his neck while fielding at silly point on Sunday.

Garg, who was conscious after the hit, was rushed to hospital for precautionary tests. He was subsequently cleared of concussion and returned to the ground. Garg did not bat in India Green's second innings, though.

The incident occurred in the third over of the final day, with India Red's Avesh Khan at the crease. A back-foot punch from the batsman struck Garg just below the helmet as he turned.

An ambulance arrived at once, and after initial treatment on the field, Garg was taken away. The 18-year-old was wearing a helmet with a neck guard, it must be noted.

Garg's MRI reports will be sent for further examination.