Fresh from finishing top run-getter for Jalandhar in the inter-district tournament,Taruwar Kohli took little time to settle in his first Ranji innings of the season. A punch through cover off Deepak Behera had class written all over it.
Openers Jiwanjot Singh and Ravi Inder Singh,who scored a half-century,had returned to the pavilion before lunch. Replying to Odishas 205,Punjab were 86/2. Another wicket might have put the visitors on top. From there,Taruwar and Mandeep Singh put on an unbroken 220 for the third wicket and helped Punjab take a 101-run first innings lead. At stumps,Punjab were 306/2 with Taruwar batting on 109 and Mandeep on 116.
Before this game,Taruwar had been in and out of the Punjab team,playing only 12 matches for them over five years. Despite being tipped as a special talent ever since he was part of Indias victorious U19 World Cup team in 2008,Taruwar managed just one century,118 against Gujarat in 2009-10,before announcing his arrival with a triple ton against Jharkhand in last seasons quarters.
Even though his 2012-13 performances were overshadowed by Jiwanjots runs and wickets from Sandeep Singh and Siddharth Kaul,they weren’t forgotten.
In the morning,the Odisha bowlers,especially Basant Mohanty,looked menacing. Taruwar and Mandeep saw off the second session and accelerated the run rate as the wicket slowed later in the day. Taruwar completed his century off 229 balls (14X4,1X6).
Mandeep gained in confidence as the innings progressed and played lusty shots all over the ground. With Taruwar steady at the other end,Mandeep went after the Odisha bowlers. He hit a four off Alok Mangaraj to complete his seventh first-class ton. His century came off 127 balls and included 12 fours and a six. Two overs later,Taruwar completed his third first-class century.
Taruwars vigil spanned 309 minutes and 225 balls. Odishas struggles werent helped by Dhiraj Singh dropping Taruwar off his own bowling while he was on 18,and by a dropped slip catch off Mandeep when he was on 106.
Brief scores: Odisha 205 vs Punjab 306/2 in 94 overs (Mandeep Singh 116*,Taruwar Kohli 109*).