Duleep Trophy: India Red inches ahead despite Bawane ton

When last man Basil Thampi was trapped on the pads by left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat, India Red secured a 30-run lead, and took a big step towards sealing a spot in the final.

India Blue's Ankeet Bawane (121 n.o., 254b, 14x4) shone bright, but it was not enough to prevent India Red from gaining the first-innings lead.   -  SUDHAKARA JAIN

India Blue's Ankeet Bawane (121 n.o., 254b, 14x4) shone bright, but it was not enough to prevent India Red from gaining the first-innings lead on the third day of their Duleep Trophy encounter at Alur ground here on Sunday.

When last man Basil Thampi was trapped on the pads by left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat, India Red secured a 30-run lead, and took a big step towards sealing a spot in the final.

India Red moved to 93 for two at close of play, with an overall 123-run advantage.

As it happened| Duleep Trophy

Earlier, Bawane and Anmolpreet Singh (56, 107b, 6x4) kept India Blue in the hunt. The pair put on a solid 129-run partnership for the fourth wicket, before Anmolpreet was taken out by off-spinner Akshay Wakhare.

The bowler and wicketkeeper, Ishan Kishan, initially went up for a caught-behind appeal, causing Anmolpreet to lose his focus. A smart Kishan then realised that Anmolpreet was out of his crease, and took off the bails. The third appeal upheld the modified appeal, and Anmolpreet was declared stumped.

Bawane, meanwhile, was all class. The Maharashtra batsman stayed firm even as wickets tumbled around him. He found an able ally in nine-drop Aniket Choudhary (8, 40b), who hung around with Bawane for nearly 15 overs.

Aniket’s calm presence helped Bawane reach his 18th First Class century. Wakhare finally got Aniket bowled through bat and pad, and Unadkat cleaned up Thampi (0, 6b) in quick time.

Bawane was happy to find some runs, after a lacklustre 2018-19 First Class season. “It was important that I played the first 25-odd balls carefully, as I kept getting out in the first 10 balls in the previous season. So I took my time to get settled in, and it worked out well. It is nice to start the new season with a big one,” Bawane said.

India Red fast bowler Avesh Khan (four for 58) was the pick of the bowlers. Avesh got the ball to move at good pace, and went past the outside edge on numerous occasions.

Avesh stated that he learnt a lot from being part of the Indian team nets at the recent ICC 50-over World Cup. “Bowling to the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma is a big challenge. They can smash the bad balls and the good balls too. I picked up a lot of useful tips from bowling to these quality batsmen,” Avesh said.

In India Red’s second essay, Karun Nair (43 batting, 55b, 7x4) looked in prime touch. Karun was his usual confident self, reverse sweeping the spinners and driving the pacers. Ankit Kalsi, who scored a century in the first innings, stayed unbeaten on 21.

The score:

India Red 285 and 93 for two in 22 overs (Karun Nair 43 batting) vs India Blue 255 (Ankeet Bawane 121 n.o., Anmolpreet Singh 56, Ruturaj Gaikwad 37, Avesh Khan four for 58, Akshay Wakhare three for 32, Jaydev Unadkat three for 52).