Duleep Trophy 2016: Kuldeep Yadav five-for leaves India Green reeling on Day 3
- Suresh Raina-led side need a miracle to save the game.
One of the biggest concerns regarding the use of the pink ball on Indian conditions had not been addressed during the first two days. However, chinaman exponent Kuldeep Yadav put those to rest by showing that spinners continue to hold the aces in the country, irrespective of dew or green-tinged pitches, with his maiden five-wicket haul.
Operating with the smartness of a veteran, the 21-year old ripped through India ‘Green’, as the Yuvraj Singh-led India ‘Red’ found themselves on the precipice of a massive victory on day three of the opening encounter in the 2016 Duleep Trophy at Greater Noida.
Resuming on 344/3, India 'Red' lost overnight centurion Abhinav Mukund quite early thanks to the persistence of Ashok Dinda. However, the lead was still formidable and Gurkeerat Singh did not deviate from playing his natural game.
Though India ‘Green’ tried to chip away at the other end, Gurkeerat went into limited-overs mode and aggravated the opposition’s woes by stretching the advantage. Eventually, they were bowled out for 486 with leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal providing the only silver lining by claiming five wickets.
Faced with a daunting target of 497 or one and a half days to survive, Suresh Raina’s team revealed their intentions right at the beginning itself. The opening combination of Robin Uthappa and Jalaj Saxena attempted to wrest the initiative back by launching a counter-attacking salvo.
But, it did not last as long as they would have hoped as Ishwar Pandey played spoilsport by keeping things simple. While looking for an extravagant cut, Saxena could only manage to chop on to his stumps to a delivery that stifled him for room, just before the dinner break.
When the batsmen seemed to get too comfortable playing the seam bowlers, Yuvraj turned towards his spinners for wickets. Kuldeep got rid of the dangerous Uthappa by playing on the latter's mind with a tossed-up one.
Soon, the floodgates opened as the wrist-spinner disguised his pace and length to trap Rajat Paliwal and Parthiv Patel in quick succession. At 131/4, things appeared to be unraveling rather quickly.
Skipper Suresh Raina sought a rescue act in the company of Saurabh Tiwary. With their two highest run-scorers from the first innings at the crease, the possibility of a fightback was not too far off.
However, Kuldeep struck again with another quicker delivery which kept low. With the lower-order exposed, he got his fifth wicket by cleaning up Sandeep Sharma to leave India ‘Green’ on the mat on the penultimate day, as Raina remained unbeaten.
Brief Scores: India ‘Red’ – 161 & 486 (Mukund 169, Chatterjee 114, Gurkeerat 82, Gopal 5-123); India ‘Green’ – 151 & 217/7 (Uthappa 72, Raina 42, Kuldeep 5-55)
India ‘Green’ require another 280 runs with 3 three wickets remainingPublished 26 Aug 2016, 09:33 IST