DINDIGUL, September 7: India Blue needed only 37 minutes on Day 4 to complete an innings and 187-run win over India Red and clinch the Duleep Trophy final at the NPR College ground here on Friday. Left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar (5 for 51) and part-time spinner Deepak Hooda (5 for 56) were the show-stoppers for India Blue as they had the batsman in all sorts of trouble.
Saurabh started the slide for India Red with the very first ball he bowled during the day. Saurabh dismissed overnight batsman Ishan Kishan (30, 5×4) – caught at forward short leg by Anmolpreet Singh – to leave the side at 134 for 6. The Saurabh-Deepak pair never allowed any of the India Red batsmen to get their eye in and required just 10.5 overs to wrap up the innings on the penultimate day of the contest. India Red ended their second innings on 172 from 38.5 overs.
India Red skipper Abhinav Mukund felt it wasn’t the best of tracks for sides batting second. “If you look at the tournament, teams that have batted first on this track have gone on to do well. Conditions were certainly difficult for us when we batted,” said Abhinav. He felt the team missed a quality left-arm spinner. “The lack of a genuine left-arm spinner hurt us very badly. We didn’t have the services of Shahbhaz Nadeem (off for India ‘A’ duty) and missed him since he had done well for us in the league stages of the tournament,” Abhinav said.
Abhinav’s counterpart Faiz Fazal felt getting a 500-plus total in the first innings more or less sealed the contest in favour of his team. “Each of our batsmen who got starts went on to make it count. The moment we had 541 on board, we knew it will be difficult for them. Our bowlers complemented our batsmen well and it was a great all-round effort,” Fazal said. (TNN)