India Green trail by 45 runs with 3 wickets remaining in the 1st innings of Duleep Trophy.
It was an inauspicious start to inaugural match of the Day/Night Duleep Trophy as a major floodlight malfunction became the focal point rather than much talked about pink ball making its first class debut in India.
A power failure saw two stoppages in play with the second one leading to lights going off completely in a couple of floodlight towers. There was a total 78 minutes of interruption due to power tripping in two towers in two separate phases.
Yuvraj Singh’s India Red lasted only 48.2 overs, being bowled out for 161 with Sandeep Sharma grabbing 4 for 62.
Left-handed opener Abhinav Mukund was the only batsman who looked in control during his innings of 77 off 116 balls that had 12 boundaries. Incidentally, the Red team were all out even before the floodlights became functional.
The Green team fared no better as pacer Nathu Singh rattled the top order with pace and swing under lights leaving them at 36 for 3. Nathu had figures of 3 for 32 in 7 overs having accounted for Robin Uthappa (1), Jalaj Saxena (10) and Rajat Paliwal (1).
At stumps, the Green team were precariously placed at 116/7 with chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav getting three scalps including the prize wicket of Suresh Raina (35) who was deceived by a dipping full toss.
IMAGE: File photo of the Pink ball used for Duleep Trophy.
The wickets were more about wrist spin than pink ball.
Nathu got Robin with a delivery that pitched on three quarter length which came back sharply breaching through his defence. Jalaj chased a wide delivery, while Paliwal also got an in-swinger that trapped him in front.
One thing was evident that the pink ball swung a bit more under lights than in the afternoon session.
The entire focus during the duration of play was on the pink kookaburra. The good part of it was it held its shine during the 48 overs in the first innings.
More than Pink kookaburra, it was poor application by Red batsmen that saw them lose wickets at regular intervals.
The pitch had even grass cover and Green bowlers mostly bowled three quarter or fuller length deliveries to get wickets.
K S Bharat (3) tried to pull a delivery from Sandeep and the ball ballooned up with Uthappa taking a skier. Sudeep Chatterjee (5) got a fuller delivery that was moving away as he went for a drive and was caught behind.
Yuvraj tried to flick Ankit Rajpoot (2/16) to be caught by Paliwal at square leg. All were regulation dismissals that could have happened with red kookaburra also.
Mukund, however, played sensibly even as wickets tumbled at the other end. One delivery that accounted for Gurkeerat (0) saw Ankit bowling a sharp incutter that took inside edge onto keeper Parthiv Patel’s hands. Similarly, Sandeep got one to dip back bowling Kuldeep Yadav.
Spinners bowled 14 overs in all with veteran Pragyan Ojha getting 3/19 in 5 overs.
However, on a first day pitch with even cover of grass there wasn’t much turn available off the surfaces and all the three dismissals off Ojha’s bowling was due to poor shot selection.
Brief Scores at stumps – Day 1:
India Red – 161 all out in 48.2 overs (Abhinav Mukund 77, Anureet Singh 32; Sandeep Sharma: 4/62)
vs India Green – 116/7 in 34.6 overs (Suresh Raina 35, Saurabh Tiwary 27 not out; Nathu Singh 3/32, Kuldeep Yadav3/26).