Rain continued to interrupt the Duleep Trophy match between India Red and India Blue here with the third day’s play restricted to 16.2 overs in which 85 runs were scored. The Blue overnight pair of Dinesh Karthik and Sheldon Jackson, resuming with nothing against their name, ended the day at 35 and 48 respectively with the team placed at 285 for five.
The contest was growing in its intensity when it poured and sent the players off the field. The match would end up with some statistical interest for some individuals, especially opener Mayank Agarwal, who came up with a polished 92 before losing cool to lose his wicket.
It was an enriching experience for Agarwal, in his third first-class season. It was the occasion when he batted along with Gautam Gambhir. “I have never batted with Gautam bhai before and I thought it was a tremendous experience batting with him. Lot of times during the innings he shared his experience, told me about handling certain situations early on in the innings as well.
“The inputs from him did help. He kept reinforcing important points like when the ball is moving, when the ball seams off the pitch, not to follow the ball and just play the line,” Agarwal said of the time he spent time in the middle with the former India opener.
On being part of a history-making match, Agarwal observed, “I think it was pretty nice, good experience to play the pink ball under lights. As much as people speak about the ball moving, which is bound to happen, I think it is mind over matter more than anything else. Though the ball did move a bit. I feel the ball is a little heavier than the red ball. After about 12-15 overs it starts to come on to the bat nicely because it is a little heavier.”
Was it a problem facing left-arm Kuldeep Yadav under lights? “Kuldeep was getting the ball to drift under the lights and I thought that he bowled with good control as well. He kept hitting the right areas and kept asking questions of the batsmen. I felt that there was nothing alarming (reading him) but sometimes you don’t really get to see the seam because it is night and the seam is also black in colour. In daylight the seam is very evident, very clear.”
Agarwal rated his innings high. “I am happy that I batted well. I take confidence from this innings because I was getting into good positions. I feel bad about missing the century but a 92 is better than getting out early. I will look at the brighter side though it is quite hurtful to have missed out on a century.
The scores: India Blue – 1st innings: Mayank Agarwal st. Bharat b Yadav 92 (167b, 10x4, 1x6), Gautam Gambhir lbw b Nathu 77 (143b, 10x4), B. Aparajith c Rana b Yadav 19 (30b, 3x4), Suryakumar Yadav st Bharat b Yadav 5 (12b, 1x4), Karn Sharma lbw b Yadav 0 (1b), Dinesh Karthik (batting) 35 (65b, 4x4), Sheldon Jackson (batting) 48 (55b, 8x4), Extras (lb-1, nb-2, pen 5) 1, Total (for five wkts in 78.2 overs) 285.
Fall of wickets: 1-151, 2-188, 3-199, 4-199, 5-200.
India Red bowling: Nathu Singh 16-0-71-1, Pradeep Sangwan 62-2-56-0, Ishwar Pandey 14-4-36-0, Kuldeep Yadav 23-2-78-4, Akshay Wakhare 8.2-0-33-0, Yuvraj Singh 1-0-5-0.