For most of Monday, the cricket was like what Groucho Marx famously described during his visit to Lord’s in 1954 – a wonderful cure for insomnia.
Any chance of some excitement on the final day of the opening Duleep Trophy fixture at the NPR College Ground had gone right out of the window when unfit ground conditions – there were problems at the bowling run-up area -- meant only seven-and-a-half overs were possible in the first session. Thus the match between India Red and India Green ended in a tame draw, with the former taking the first-innings points.
But even this eminently forgettable day will be remembered with fondness by two men – Sanjay Ramaswamy and B. Aparajith. Both scored hundreds and added 210 for the unfinished second wicket. Sanjay was batting on 123 (307min, 245b, 9x4, 2x6) and Aparajith 101 (246min, 205b, 7x4, 3x6), with India Red at 262 for one, when the stumps were drawn for the final time.
Aparajith, though, wasn’t the first batsman from his family in Chennai to score a hundred in this match. His twin brother, B. Indrajith, had made an elegant 109 on Sunday.
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“I was determined to score a hundred today,” Aparajith said. “I am happy that Indrajith also got his century; it was important for him as he is coming back from his shoulder injury. And this is the first time we both are scoring hundred in the same First Class match, though we have done it before in other matches.”
Aparajith had come to the wicket after the fall of his captain Abhinav Mukund, who would be the only man to get out on this day. The opener edged a catch straight to Indrajith at second slip off Ankit Rajpoot. He would surely be regretting his dismissal, as he missed out on batting against a friendly attack on a friendlier track.
Aparajith and Sanjay, however, were in no mood to let go the opportunity. They were willing to grind initially and changed gears later as they both cleared the boundary on a few occasions.
Sanjay, the Vidarbha opener who has had a great year, was the first to reach the milestone, which he celebrated by hitting left-arm spinner Vikash Mishra for a huge six over long off. “After missing out in the first innings, I wanted to hit a hundred in the second,” he said.
In the next match, beginning on August 23, India Red will take on India Blue.
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