India Red continued their momentum as they inched closer to recording a first-innings lead in the tournament final. After fighting off the late resurgence of the India Green batsmen, they ultimately managed to restrict them to a score below 250 before Easwaran’s century had them cruising at stumps.
After a dismal first day, India Green resumed play in a precarious position having been restricted to 147/8. A slight drizzle presented scares of delayed play but Mayank Markande and Tanveer ul-Haq soon took the pitch to resume their budding partnership. Soon, it grew into the game’s first half-century stand as the bowlers continued to toil without success. They ultimately manage to break through the tailender’s guard, as Sandeep Warrier sent Tanveer’s stumps flying with the scoreboard reading 172/9.
Still short of a decent total, Markande refused to give up while Ankit Rajpoot put up an extraordinary show of batting by a number 11, as he surprised the bowlers with an entertaining knock of 30 coming off just 39 balls laced with four boundaries. However, the inning soon came to an end after Avesh Khan sent the batsman back to the pavilion, which meant Jaydev Unadkat failed to claim a five-wicket haul. India Green had managed to put up a defendable total of 231, courtesy Markande’s gritty 76 who remained not out and more than half of those runs coming for the last two wickets.
The India Red batsmen raced off to a brilliant start as skipper Priyank Panchal along with newly-appointed Bengal captain Abhimanyu Easwaran piled on the runs to record 50 runs on the scoreboard without the loss of a wicket post lunch. The two looked determined to chase down the score all by themselves until Ankit Rajpoot had Panchal caught behind the stumps to send him back to the pavilion for 33 after having shared an 87-run stand for the first wicket.
The work seemed cut-out for the bowlers as Karun Nair walked in after having scored 345 runs in three innings in the competition so far. He started off on a confident note, dispatching three balls to the boundary to race to 20 as Easwaran reached the landmark of 50. However, Mayank Markande could not keep himself out of the game and struck a telling blow preying on Nair to reignite hopes amongst his teammates.
Another spell of rain interrupted play after tea before Easwaran returned to the crease to reach his century that was laced with 11 boundaries and a couple of sixes. Almost immediately. The umpires decided to stop play after bad lights cut short yet another fantastic day of cricket, with India Red returning to the pavilion satisfied after ending the day on 176/2, just 56 runs short of claiming a first innings lead with as many as eight wickets in hand and an on-song Easwaran on the crease.