Pujara, Jackson put India Blue on top in Duleep Trophy final

Greater Noida, Sep 11 (IANS) Saurashtra batsman Cheteshwar Pujara remained unbeaten on 256 as India Blue declared their first innings for a monumental 693/6 against India Red on the second day on Sunday of the final of the Duleep Trophy cricket tournament.

Pujara, who was batting overnight with a 111, hit 28 fours during his big knock as he became the first batsman in the world to score a double century with the newly-introduced pink ball in any form of cricket.

Pujara and his Saurashtra teammate Sheldon Jackson (134) punished the Red bowlers with a 243-run stand for the fifth wicket as Blue reached 605/5 when the latter departed.

Later, Pujara again paired up with Ravindra Jadeja (48) for a 88-run stand as Blue declared their innings for a huge total of 693/6.

Red, in their reply, got off to a poor start as they lost opening batsman Abhinav Mukund (2) and Sudip Chatterjee (0) in the first over bowled by paceman Pankaj Singh. They reached 16/2 at the end of the day’s play.

Earlier in the day, resuming with their team’s total of 362/3, Blue started on a poor note, losing overnight batsman Dinesh Karthik (55) in the first delivery of the day’s opening over. Left-arm seamer Pradeep Sangwan ripped Karthik’s stumps apart.

But, Pujara, along with Jackson ensured that they didn’t lose the upper hand. Pujara continued from where he left on Saturday, as the duo scored at a fair pace. Red had to wait for the 60th over of the day to separate the pair.

Jackson, who had scored 105 and 79 not out against India Green in their previous match, scored his 11th century in First-Class cricket.

The double century — Pujara’s 10th in first class cricket — couldn’t have come at a better time as the national selection panel is set to meet on Monday to pick the squad for the upcoming Test series against New Zealand.

Pujara took 303 balls to complete the double century with the help of 21 boundaries. His strike rate during the record knock was in 60s — a mark of healthy scoring rate.

Pujara also got his 10th double-hundred in First-Class cricket, drawing level with Rahul Dravid, Sunil Gavaskar, and Vijay Hazare. Vijay Merchant (11) is the only Indian to have more first-class double-hundreds than Pujara.

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra broke the partnership with a caught and bowled dismissal and afterwards, Pujara and Jadeja continued their assault on Red to help Blue post a huge total.

In the reply, Red were dealt two early blows in the very first over as Pankaj trapped left-hander Mukund in front of the wickets, while dismissing the stumps of Sudip to put Red on the mat.

At the end of the day’s play, Shikhar Dhawan (14 not out) and Yuvraj Singh (0 not out) walked back to the pavillion with their team’s score on 16/2.

Brief scores: India Blue: 693/6 declared (Cheteshwar Pujara 256 not out, Sheldon Jackson 134; k 55 not out; Amit Mishra 2/171). India Red: 16/2 (Shikhar Dhawan 14 not out; Pankaj Singh (2/12).

–IANS

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