Exclusives

Mayank Agarwal has been in prolific form in the Duleep Trophy

Mayank Agarwal’s fifth fifty-plus score in as many innings helped India Blue extend their lead close to the 500 mark on a curtailed Day 4 of the Duleep Trophy 2016 final at the Greater Noida Sports Complex Ground.

 

The start of play on Tuesday (September 13) was delayed due to a wet outfield, with India Blue at 1 for no loss – their overnight score. Gautam Gambhir and Agarwal finally resumed the innings at 6:30 PM local time.

 

The openers began on an aggressive note, especially against Nathu Singh, smacking the pacer for three boundaries each in his first two overs. Sangwan, meanwhile troubled the duo with his variation in length. However, within 26 balls and an addition of 32 runs on the board, play was halted again as the outfield was damp and considered unsafe by the on-field umpires, after the left-armer suggested that the ground was soft. Another 100 minutes of play was lost before the match restarted with only one session to play out in the day.

 

While Nathu was taken off the attack, Sangwan continued to bowl from his end. Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, who was impressive in the league phase, made the new ball talk and unsettled Gambhir and Agarwal. The openers, by then, had resorted to a cautious approach.

 

The chinaman bowler, after testing the batsmen for a while, managed to hit Gambhir’s pad and had the umpire’s decision going his way in the 18th over. However, the India Blue captain, who had struck four consecutive half centuries in the tournament before this, wasn’t too pleased with the decision. He walked back to the pavilion visibly angry. Nonetheless, India Red had their first breakthrough at 67.

 

Rohit Sharma, who walked out to bat at No. 3, got off to an uncharacteristic start. He took 36 balls for his first four runs. Resisting the temptation to play over the in-field, he kept blocking deliveries.

 

Meanwhile, Agarwal kept chugging along comfortably and brought up his half century by sweeping a low full toss off Kuldeep for a boundary through the square leg region. However, four balls later, the Uttar Pradesh spinner managed to induce a false shot off him as he ended up getting a top edge to his sweep and found Nathu at cow corner.