The curiosity and mystery regarding nature of the pink ball was unveiled on the historical Day 1 of the Duleep Trophy. A total number of 17 wickets tumbled day 1, with pacer and spinner equally troubling the batsmen. The fast bowlers scalped 10 wickets whereas spinner chipped in with 6 wickets. In short, it was the bowlers who let the ball talk whole day.
To start the historical day, Yuvraj Singh called the right side of the coin and decided to bat first. Soon it seemed that he has committed a mistake by calling to bat first as the team lost the first batsman on the score of 11 when KS Bharat of Andhra Pradesh who has shifted his base to Hyderabad for this season, played a surprising shot off Sandeep Sharma. The wickets continued to fall with half of team back in the pavilion before crossing the 50 run mark. Though Abhinav Mukund stood at one end, not giving any chances to the bowlers. At one stage it looked like the team will not be able to score 100 runs as they were running short of batsmen before Mukund got the support of Railways bowler Anureet Singh and both shared partnership of 50 runs. Their innings ended with a score of 161 runs.
Sandeep Sharma ran over India Red batting line up dismissing 4 batsmen with Pragyan Ojha making a mark with 3 wickets in just 5.2 overs.
Now it was the time for the India Green batsmen to face the Pink ball and as expected they too were in the same position. Young pacer Nathu Singh brought the first smile on the face of captain dismissing Robin Uthappa on the first ball he bowled off his Duleep Trophy career, bowling out Robin Uthappa who failed to judge an in-swinger from him. Jalaj Saxena and Rajat Paliwal too fell into the trap of Nathu Singh thus crediting two more wickets in his account.
Now it was time for Kuldeep Yadav to send middle order packing dismissing Parthiv Patel followed by his state captain Suresh Raina. The mystery bowler continued his assault dismissing all-rounder Shreyas Gopal. The India Green ended the day with the score of 116 runs on fall of 7 wickets.
India Red too cashed upon the skills of their bowlers who were the main force behind their success on Day 1.
On a day when batsmen of both the teams were struggling, Abhinav Mukund made a name for himself scoring a gritty 77 runs, he was also the highest scorer of the day. An elated Mukund credited his timing for his success and said
“I was timing the ball well personally. I couldn’t sight it quite well in the nets yesterday, but today was better and it was a good experience,” he said after the first day’s play.
To be honest, I didn’t have much of a problem [sighting] today. I thought I was timing the ball and getting into good positions. The ball was holding on to the wicket sometimes, sometimes [it was] skidding on. It’s a new experience. We don’t play with the Kookaburra in domestic cricket; it’s a new experience for a lot of cricketers.” concluded the Tamil Nadu batsman.
The players received full support from the crowd with the fans coming to the stadium in large numbers. It tells us that the fans were equally excited about the Pink ball as the players were.
The stumps were called at nearly 10:30 P.M. due to delay during the play. The play was halted twice due to floodlights issues which were resolved both times by the concerned authorities.
India Red bowlers need to wrap of the innings of India Green soon as it seems that a lead of 40 runs is very crucial because batsmen are struggling for every run here on this pitch with the Pink ball.