India Blue continued to pile up runs and posted a colossal 693/6 before scalping two wickets of India Red, on Day 2 of the Duleep Trophy final, in Greater Noida. It was a day dominated by Saurashtra batsmen as Cheteshwar Pujara and Sheldon Jackson scored double century and century respectively.
After grinding down on the wicket, Cheteshwar Pujara has a habit to score big in the domestic circuit. The day two of the Duleep Trophy final is one such day where he hit the Red bowlers all around the ground to score his 10th first-class double century and now sits the joint second on double-hundreds list alongside Vijay merchant. He found able allies in the form of Sheldon Jackson and Ravindra Jadeja in helping India Blue to post a huge total of 693/6 on Day 2 of the Duleep Trophy final. Pacer Pankaj Singh quickly removed Abhinav Mukund and Sudip Chaterjee, as India Red set out to chase the mammoth total.
Saurashtra fifth-wicket stand
After Dinesh Karthik was knocked over by Pradeep Sangwan with the first ball of the day, Pujara got Sheldon Jackson on the other end. Jackson looked scratchy during the initial period of his stay, but thanks to some dropped catches, he gained his confidence and went to score 134 runs off 248 balls. His partnership with Pujara yielded 243 runs for the fifth wicket, which was finally broken by Amit Mishra as he caught and bowled Jackson with a good delivery. His innings featured 15 fours and a couple of strikes over the ropes.
Jadeja show in the end
After the two Saurashtra players reached their respective milestones, another lad from the land, Ravindra Jadeja, joined the party by scoring a quick fire cameo of 48 runs. After adding 88 runs for the sixth wicket with Pujara, Jadeja got out to part-timer Abhinav Mukund, prompting Gautam Gambhir to declare the first innings at 693/6 . Pujara remained unbeaten on 256 off 363 deliveries, scoring 28 boundaries in the process.
Pankaj Singh’s double strike
After the India Blue's batsmen did their job, it was the Rajasthan pacer Pankaj Singh who pushed IndiaRed further back with two back-to-back strikes in the very first over of their innings. Pankaj Singh was absolutely unplayable from the very beginning as he trapped Abhinav Mukund right in front with a fantastic inswinger, and then another similar delivery,went through the defences of Sudip Chaterjee to hit the stumps.
India Red ended the day on 16/2 in 9 overs with two experienced left handers, Shikhar Dhawan and Yuvraj Singh at the crease as they now trail India Blue by 677 runs. The unnatural behaviour of the track on day 3 will put more pressure on the India Red batsmen as Pankaj Singh and co will look forward to pick up early wickets and not allow the Red batsmen to settle down.