Biting nails, ponderous running while chasing the ball and showing a feeling of disinterest towards the game, that were the recorded reactions of India Red fielders on Day 1 of the final of pink ball Duleep trophy where the bowling team toiled on Day 1 reaping minimum fruits of the efforts put in by them.
The day started with India Blue captain Gautam Gambhir winning the game of luck i.e. coin toss for the second consecutive time. He wrote half of the script of the game at 1:30 P.M. when he decided to bat first. His aim was clear, to bat as many overs as possible so as to pile up a gigantic score on the board, thus putting the opposition team under mental pressure of chasing the first innings score.
Gautam Gambhir and Mayank Agarwal were out in the middle to accomplish their preset goal. They started off well replicating their actions and reactions of last group stage match sharing 144 runs for the first wicket. They were eyeing for something larger than that but in between Agarwal lost his concentration and played a loose shot towards short cover which was safely collected by vigilant Shikhar Dhawan . Gambhir and Agarwal laid a strong base at the start so that the other batsmen can cash it later in the game.
The succeeding batsman Cheteshwar Pujara knew about the importance of the game and he did not waste any time to get into action. He started his innings on a positive note with a boundary. From there he did not look back and was showing glimpses of being in good form. It looked like the old Pujara, who used to score consistently for the Indian team is back.
The India Blue captain Gautam Gambhir meanwhile was inching towards his century but was again unlucky not to complete his century as he played one back onto the stumps. Kuldeep Yadav provided a sigh of relief to the team before the lunch. This was the fourth consecutive time when Gambhir missed out of a century after scoring a half century and it was the second consecutive time when Gambhir was dismissed in nervous 90’s.
Pujara now had the responsibility to manage the team as they suffered two blows on a short distance. He was well supported by Rohit Sharma who shared 64 runs for the third wicket with Pujara.
Rohit Sharma himself showed that why he does not deserve a place in Test squad as once again the T20 ghost in him got recharged and Rohit who was playing quite well, went out of nowhere went out of the crease to play a big shot and was dismissed as he could not clear the distance. He contributed 30 runs to the teams total.
India Red bowlers were overjoyed and decided to put in extra effort in search of one more wicket but neither Pujara nor the next batsman Dinesh Kartik gave them any chance rest of the day. Neither of them was ready to take a risk as both clearly knew the need of the hour. They both batted till the end of the day adding 120 runs to India Blue account.
Meanwhile, Pujara became only the 902nd batsman to score 10000 runs in first-class cricket. He also completed his 26th first-class century soon after he achieved this milestone.
India Blue finished the day’s play on a score of 362/3.
The India Red bowlers will have to really work hard as India Blue has their target set in their mind, the India Red bowlers at any cost has to prevent India Blue to reach that target as if India Blue is able to able to bat 80-90 overs today, then there are chances that they can even beat their own score which they scored in the last match.