Karun Nair hit his first first-class century in nearly two years so as to help India Red book their berth in the Duleep Trophy final this season. Nair hit an unbeaten 166 to help his team draw against India Blue in Alur which gave them a crucial three points due to the first-innings lead.
Brief scores: India Red 285 (Ankit Kalsi 106, Karun Nair 99; Diwesh Pathania 4-55, Jalaj Saxena 3-57) and 297 (Karun Nair 166*, Ankit Kalsi 64; Jalaj Saxena 4-105) drew with India Blue 255 (Ankit Bawne 125, Anmolpreet Singh 56; Avesh Khan 4-58, Akshay Wakhare 3-32)
Resuming from 93/2, Karun Nair had an opportunity to do what he couldn't in the first innings by just one run, and that propelled him to play in a positive way. Ankit Kalsi also helped Nair big-time for the third-wicket partnership, forging a 157-run stand with the local batsman. Nair was very fluent in his approach and hit 19 boundaries and a six in his 223-ball knock to follow his 99 in the first innings.
While Basil Thampi didn't bowl today after being ravaged by injury, Blue's bowling was ably led by Jalaj Saxena. The Madhya Pradesh cricketer, who is turning up for Kerala now, added three more wickets to his tally of one yesterday and finished with match figures of 7 for 162.
Now, Red will take on India Green in their last league game, starting Thursday (August 29) while the final is slated to be held at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru from September 4.