Greater Noida, Sep 10 (IANS) Cheteshwar Pujara’s unbeaten 111 and fifties from Gautam Gambhir (94), Mayank Agarwal (57) and Dinesh Karthik (55 not out) drove India Blue to 362/3 in their first innings against India Red on the opening day of the Duleep Trophy cricket tournament final here on Saturday.
Gambhir scored his fourth consecutive fifty as the India discard shared a 144-run opening stand with Mayank to help Blue get off to a strong start as the opening duo continued their good form.
Then Pujara scored at a very good pace to continue Blue’s good show despite the loss of Gambhir as he shared a 64-run stand with Rohit Sharma, who fell for 30.
Later, Pujara and Karthik stitched together a 120-run unbeaten partnership to put Blue in command at the end of the first day’s play.
Earlier in the day, Gambhir and Mayank found it easy against the Red bowlers. Especially, opening pace bowlers Nathu Singh and Pradeep Sangwan showed their inexperience as they conceded fours consistently.
Later, experienced leg-spinner Amit Mishra also failed to stop the flow of runs, as did medium pacer Stuart Binny.
Mayank, on his part scored seven fours, building on the previous innings of 161, 58 and 92, while Gambhir hit eight during their knocks at the Greater Noida Sports Complex Ground.
Binny removed Mayank with the right-hander offering a catch to Shikhar Dhawan, with the scoreboard reading 144/1.
Pujara joined Gambhir in the middle and the duo could only foster a 34-run stand as Gambhir, looking for his maiden hundred of this Duleep Trophy campaign, was bowled by chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav.
Rohit came to the middle and developed a good partnership with Pujara. As the duo, looked to ensure that the good foundation did not go waste, the stroke-making was the focal point of their partnership.
But Mishra ended Rohit’s stay as the Mumbai batsman offered a catch to Dhawan, with the scoreboard reading 242/3.
Later, Pujara and Karthik further consolidated Blue’s domination with a 120-run stand.
Pujara stroked 15 fours, while Karthik hit eight fours as the Red bowlers struggled.
Brief scores: India Blue: 362/3 (Cheteshwar Pujara 111 not out, Gautam Gambhir 94, Mayank Agarwal 57, Dinesh Karthik 55 not out; Stuart Binny 1/54, Kuldeep Yadav 1/97) vs India Red.