Despite an aggressive rearguard action from Jaydev Unadkat and Dhawal Kulkarni, India Red managed to take a 23-run first innings lead in the second Duleep Trophy match against India Blue here at the NPR College ground on Saturday.
Led by skipper Abhinav Mukund’s half-century (50, 74b, 9x4) and Siddhesh Lad’s unbeaten 47, India Red ended Day Three on 156 for three in its second innings, with a lead of 179. If the match ends in a draw on Sunday, India Red will qualify for the final as it had taken a similar slim lead against India Green in the opening encounter; the next match between Blue and Green will then be a virtual semifinal.
Resuming at 183 for five, India Blue quickly lost two wickets to Parvez Rasool; Saurabh Kumar was bowled and then Dhruv Shorey gave a simple return catch, three short of his century.
Unadkat and Kulkarni quickly went on the aggressive, finding some boundaries, even hitting a couple of sixes. The duo added 61 runs for the eighth wicket off just 104 balls. Then Abhimanyu Mithun picked two wickets in the same over, dismissing Unadkat (39) and Akshay Wakhare before Kulkarni and Ayyappa added 33 for the last wicket. Eventually, Kulkarni was dismissed trying to heave one over mid-wicket only to find the fielder.
In the second innings, Blue chose to start with off-spinner Wakhare and left-arm spinner Kumar, who quickly dismissed opener Sanjay Ramaswamy leg-before-wicket.
On a pitch where there was enough help for the spinners with quite a large rough patch at both ends, Abhinav played a crafty knock. The Tamil Nadu batsman used the sweep in particular to good effect and found a flurry of boundaries. The left-handed opener got on top of the spinners and got to his half-century before he was trapped leg-before by part-time spinner Ricky Bhui at the stroke of the second break.
Later, top scorer from the first innings Siddhesh Lad picked up from where he left off and ensured no further wickets fell, stitching an unbeaten 75-run partnership with Akshay Wadkar.
- India Red (1st innings): 316
- India Blue (1st innings): Abhishek Raman lbw Gurbani 12, Faiz Fazal b Rasool 1, Dhruv Shorey c&B Rasool 97, Anmolpreet Singh c Abhinav b Gurbani 1, Ricky Bhui c sub (Chatterjee) b Aparajith 41, K.S. Bharat b Rasool 35, Saurabh Kumar b Rasool 4, Jaydev Undakat lbw Mithun 39, Dhawal Kulkarni c Rasool b Aparajith 39, Akshay Wakhare c Aparajith b Mithun 0, B. Ayyappa not out 11
- Extras (lb-5, b-6, nb-1, w-1) 13
- Total (all out in 95.3 overs) 293
- Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-17, 3-18, 4-130, 5-181, 6-193, 7-199, 8-260, 9-260
- Bowling: Rasool 36-3-107-4, Gurbani 14-4-29-2, Mithun 11-3-35-2, Nadeem 25-4-67-0, Porel 3-1-12-0, Aparajith 6.3-0-32-2
- India Red (2nd innings) Sanjay Ramaswamy lbw Kumar 6, Abhinav Mukund lbw Bhui 50, B. Aparajith c Fazal b Wakhare 19, Siddhesh Lad batting 47, Akshay Wadkar batting 30,
- Extras (b-2, lb-1, nb-1) 4
- Total (for three wickets in 59 overs) 156
- Fall of wickets: 1-21, 2-66, 3-81
- Bowling: Unadkat 3-0-11-0, Wakhare 22-3-59-1, Kumar 21-4-52-1, Bhui 3-0-9-1, Kulkarni 5-0-16-0, Ayyappa 3-1-3-0, Anmolpreet 2-0-3-0.