Duleep Trophy: Jadeja's five-for all but seals title for India Blue

Jadeja’s five for 95 gave India Blue a lead of 337 runs and ensured the Trophy would come India Blue’s way. Opting not to enforce the follow on, India Blue was one for no loss against India Red.

Ravindra Jadeja India Blue Duleep Trophy final five-wicket haul

India Blue's Ravindra Jadeja exults after dismissing Gurkeerat Mann of India Red on Monday   -  Sandeep Saxena

Ravindra Jadeja loves to be in the thick of action. Who does not? But this Saurashtra cricketer looks to build on his reputation when there is a contest in the offing. He prepared for the approaching series against New Zealand by performing with the pink ball on the third day of the Duleep Trophy final at the Shaheed Vijay Singh Pathik Sports Complex here on Monday.

Jadeja’s five for 95 ensured the Trophy would come India Blue’s way. Opting not to enforce the follow on, India Blue was one for no loss.

Resuming at 16 for two, India Red recovered to compile 356 but conceded a first-innings lead of 337 runs. For India Blue, the left-arm skills of Jadeja came in handy as he produced the best individual performance of the day with the exception of Stuart Binny, who came into bat much after having learnt of his omission from the Test squad in the forthcoming series. He unfortunately fell short of a century by two runs but inspired Amit Mishra, Gurkeerat Mann and Kuldeep Yadav to produce half centuries.

Once again, a section of the venue was packed with enthusiastic fans who expected some resistance from India Red. Yuvraj Singh carried the hopes of his side but he failed to put up a big score and fell to an indiscreet shot – a slash away from the body that saw Cheteshwar Pujara grasp the edge at first slip on second attempt. Pujara’s remorseful walk to the pavilion was not going to help his cause since he had none but himself to blame.

India Red batting lacked the steel to fight. Patience was not a virtue the middle order could pride in and the dismissal of Shikhar Dhawan only mirrored the situation – the players did not have their heart in the match. Not Dhawan though. He concentrated hard and looked to dig himself in. He mostly stuck to his resolve but one silly shot brought his innings to an end. Having curbed his attacking instincts the left-hander attempted a reverse sweep off Jadeja only to glove it to Agarwal at short-leg.

Two partnerships – 63 for the fifth wicket between Gurkeerat Singh and Binny and 64 for the sixth wicket between Binny and Bains – highlighted India Red’s defiance in the afternoon but it was back to square one Gurkeerat and Bains were consumed by Jadeja. The left-arm spinner hit the ball hard and bowled a relentless middle-off line and compelled the batsmen to play. He rattled Gurkeerat with one that sped on pitching. It was a reward for Jadeja’s ability to plot the batsman’s dismissal and this was a ball that would have snared much better run-scorer.

Bains was foxed by the turn and the low catch was splendidly taken by Rohit Sharma at second slip. The stage was now left to Binny who eyed a century. He prospered with his positive approach of playing his shots. When the bowlers tested him with flight he smacked them. When they challenged him with a man in the deep he still smacked them. He hit off-spinner Parveez Rasool and leg-spinner Karn Sharma for two sixes each and seven of his 12 fours came off Jadeja. He misread the turn and was trapped leg-before when the ball struck his back leg.

Mishra made merry with the bat and produced some robust shots in the company of Kuldeep Yadav in the final session which also witnessed an intruder in a breach of security.

The scores:

India Blue – 1st innings: 693 for six decl.

India Red – 1st innings: Abhinav Mukund lbw b Pankaj 0 (2b), Shikhar Dhawan c Agarwal b Jadeja 29 (58b, 5x4), Sudip Chatterjee b Pankaj 0 (1b), Yuvraj Singh c Pujara b Mithun 17 (58b, 3x4), Gurkeerat Singh b Jadeja 57 (83b, 9x4), Stuart Binny lbw b Jadeja 98 (159b, 12x4), Ankush Bains c Rohit b Jadeja 16 (46b, 2x4), Amit Mishra c Pankaj b Karn 65 (77b, 13x4, 1x6), Kuldeep Yadav c Gambhir b Karn 59 (94b, 14x4), Pradeep Sangwan lbw b Jadeja 0 (2b), Nathu Singh (not out) 7 (10b, 1x4), Extras (b-4, lb-1, nb-1) 6, Total (in 98.1 overs) 356.

Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Mukund), 2-2 (Chatterjee), 3-44 (Yuvraj), 4-67 (Dhawan), 5-130 (Gurkeerat), 6-194 (Bains), 7-233 (Binny), 8-319 (Mishra), 9-336 (Sangwan).

India Blue bowling: Pankaj Singh 15-5-42-2, Parveez Rasool 21-5-76-0, Karn Sharma 19.1-3-85-2, Mayank Agarwal 1-0-1-0, Abhimanyu Mithun 8-0-52-1, Ravindra Jadeja 34-9-95-5.

India Blue – 2nd innings: Mayank Agarwal (batting) 0, Gautam Gambhir (batting0 1, Total (for no loss in two overs) 1.

India Red bowling: Pradeep Sangwan 1-1-0-0, Nathu Singh 1-0-1-0,