India Blue inch closer to seal Duleep Trophy final berth

Greater Noida, Sep 7 (IANS) India Blue established their dominance against India Green by taking a mammoth 555-run lead on the penultimate day of the four-day Duleep Trophy cricket contest here on Tuesday.

After a brilliant first innings where they piled on 707 runs, the Gautam Gambhir-led India Blue decided to carry on batting after bundling out Indian Green for a paltry 237 in their first essay.

The third day ended with India Blue reaching 85/0 in the second innings with Gambhir and Mayank Agarwal unbeaten on 36 and 49 respectively at the Greater Noida Sports Complex here.

Facing a mammoth 707, India Green started off on a poor note as opener Murali Vijay (6) threw away his wicket by stepping down the track but missed the ball altogether in the fourth over.

This brought in Jalaj Saxena, who also could not add much to the scorecard and was sent back to the pavilion with just 37 runs on the board.

After this, India Green never managed to get a big partnership though middle order’s Parthiv Patel (55) and Shreyas Gpoal (26) tried to steady the ship but too perished in the process.

India Blue came up with a double strike sending both the set batsmen back off consecutive deliveries. Skipper Suresh Raina came in late and entertained the crowd with a breezy 52, but his knock could not take the team out of troubled waters and as a result only managed to score 237 runs, and trail by 470.

Leg-spinner Karn Sharma and pacer Abhimanyu Mithun got three wickets each while Pankaj Singh managed two scalps. Despite a huge lead, Gambhir decided to bat again and he along with his opening partner Agarwal remained unbeaten at stumps. They forged an 85-run unbeaten partnership with Gambhir going on to make 1000 runs in the Duleep Trophy.

Brief Scores: India Blue: 707, 85/0 (Gautam Gambhir 36 not out, Mayank Agarwal 49 not out) vs India Green (Parthiv Patel 55, Suresh Raina 52, Abhimanyu Mithun 3/16, Karn Sharma 3/74)



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